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Still Waters

2,000-year-old measuring table unearthed

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Still Waters

If you buy a liter of olive oil, you’ll likely want to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. And if you’re selling a liter of olive oil, you want to be paid fairly for it. Ancient residents of what is now East Jerusalem had the same problem. They relied on the market’s inspector of measurements and weights, the agoranomos, to ensure all was fair.

Archaeologists excavating a large underground square recently unearthed tools of the agoranomos’ trade, according to a statement released Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authorities. The most notable specimen is a small stone table with vertical cavities that resemble cup holders. Used to calibrate sellers’ vessels for selling liquids such as wine and oil, the measuring table is only the third of its kind found to date in the Jerusalem area.



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