JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hundreds of liquor bottles whose contents were consumed by British soldiers during World War I were uncovered near Ramla in central Israel.
The bottles were excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in preparation for the construction of a new highway, the IAA announced Wednesday. They were found near a building where British soldiers were garrisoned during the war.
Also found in the area were 250,000-year-old flint tools.
The uncovered building where the bottles were found was originally used for agricultural purposes during the Ottoman period and converted by the British for military use, according to Ron Toueg, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The intact bottom floor was a barracks for the soldiers. Uniform buttons, belt buckles, parts of riding equipment and other artifacts that were the property of the British soldiers were discovered in the excavated building, according to the IAA.
“The place where the soldiers discarded debris was revealed just a few meters from the building,” Toueg said. “We were surprised to discover that along with broken crockery and cutlery there was an enormous number of soft drink and liquor bottles. In fact, about 70 percent of the waste that was discarded in the refuse pit was liquor bottles. It seems that the soldiers took advantage of the respite given them to release the tension by frequently drinking alcohol.”
The glass bottles had once contained mainly wine, beer, soda and alcoholic beverages such as gin, liquor and whiskey.