Researchers have found evidence of a 3,000 year old beekeeping operation in northern Israel. The apiary, consisting of somewhere between 75 and 200 beehives, contains the oldest human-made beehives ever found. From Science News:
(Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai) Mazar’s team has so far uncovered 25 cylindrical containers for bees in a structure that is centrally located in the ancient city at Tel Rehov. High brick walls surrounded the apiary. Beehives sat in three parallel rows, each containing at least three tiers. Each beehive measured 80 centimeters long and about 40 centimeters wide.
In the best-preserved beehives, one end contains a small hole for bees to enter and exit. A removable lid with a handle covers the other end.
Chemical analyses of two Tel Rehov beehives revealed degraded beeswax residue in the containers’ unfired clay walls. The researchers are now examining pollen remains and bee bodies found in charred honeycombs from inside the hives.
Iron Age beekeeping (Science News)
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