Yulia Karra
August 7, 2023

A teenager from northern Israel recently made the discovery of a lifetime after she stumbled upon a Byzantine-era, 1,500-year-old “magical mirror” at a site of an archeological dig.

Aviv Weizman from Kiryat Motzkin was one of the 500 high school students who took part in the Education Ministry’s Young Leaders’ Survival Course where the teens hike 90 kilometers from Mount Meron to Mount Hermon.

As part of the course, the youth participate in Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) digs at sites located along the route, which will be opened to the general public in the future.

During the excavations at the ancient site of Usha near Kiryat Ata, 17-year-old Weizman unearthed an unusual pottery sherd. 

Schoolgirl unearths ancient ‘magical mirror’ in Israel
Ancient site of Usha where the magical mirror was found. Photo by Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority

Upon closer examination by Dr. Einat Ambar-Armon, director of the IAA Northern Education Center, the rare object was identified as a fragment of a fourth to sixth century CE glass mirror intended for protection against the evil eye.

“The idea was that the evil spirit, such as a demon, who looked in the mirror, would see his own reflection, and this would protect the owner of the mirror. Similar mirror plaques have been found in the past as funerary gifts in tombs, in order to protect the deceased in their journey to the world to come,” explained IAA curator Navit Popovitch.

Schoolgirl unearths ancient ‘magical mirror’ in Israel
Aviv Weizman with the fragment of the ancient mirror. Photo by Emil Aladjem/Israel Antiquities Authority

IAA Director Eli Escusido said that during the excavations, the students also discovered pottery jars, coins, decorated stone fragments, and even a water aqueduct.

“A pupil who uncovers a find in the course of an excavation will never forget the experience. There is no better way to attach the youth to the country and the heritage,” he said.

Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

More on Israel Antiquities Authority