Stav Meir, 13, went with his father and brothers to pick mushrooms near the Israeli city of Caesarea. There had been heavy rainfalls in the area shortly before, and the family decided it was the right time to pick mushrooms. While searching, Stav noticed a marble slab protruding from the ground. According to a boy who studied archeology at school, he immediately realized that he had come across something ancient.
According to local law, any find that may be of historical importance must be reported to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Doctor of archaeological sciences Peter Handelman went to investigate the slab. He said that the slab is a part of a gravestone engraved in Greek: the words “grave” and the name of the deceased are preserved on the artifact - “Anastasius” or “Anastasia”.
The artifact is believed to be over 1,500 years old and dates from the period when the area was controlled by the Byzantine Empire, the successor state to the Roman Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant.
Perhaps Stav found not only a fragment of a gravestone, but also the site of an ancient Christian cemetery. Excavations in the area can provide insight into Caesarea's rich history. This city, founded by Herod the Great, was famous for its many churches and monumental buildings. In the 7th century AD, the city was destroyed during the Muslim invasions.
The IAA awarded Stav a certificate of honor and encouraged citizens to work together to preserve the treasures of Israel's land.