Tenth century soap factory uncovered in Israeli Negev

Hundreds of Bedouin youths, university students and volunteers have spent the past six months digging at a major archeological site in southern Israel. Directed by Dr. Elena Kogan-Zahavi of the government’s Antiquities Authority,  the researchers have uncovered a 10th soap factory, believed to be the oldest in the region and a major export industry in its day. The soap was made of a combination of olive oil and burnt plants containing potassium that were boiled in water for seven days. The dig in the desert region takes place ahead of the establishment of new neighborhoods in the Bedouin town of Rahat with accommodation for 10,000 families.

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