WWI British troops and liquor spree in Israel

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Archaeologists on Wednesday excavated hundreds of liquor bottles left by World War I British troops in Israel.

Ron Toueg, an excavation director the Israel Antiquities Authority  said, the bottles were found under the foundations of a barracks that had housed British soldiers near Ramla, a city in central Israel.

Archaeologists found that nearly 70 per cent of the waste in the soldiers’ rubbish area, a few metres from the building, was liquor bottles.

“It seems that the soldiers took advantage of the respite given them to release the tension by frequently drinking alcohol,’’ Toueg said.

According to Sary Mark, an expert on the British army’s occupation of present-day Israel, a group of soldiers under Gen. Edmund Allenby had taken over the area in November 1917 before later occupying Jerusalem.

Researcher Brigitte Ouahnouna said most interestingly is that the bottles were brought in from Europe, “a fascinating testimony of the everyday life of the British military camp a century ago.’’

“She said it was the first time such a collection had been found in Israel.

The archaeologists, who had been excavating 250,000-year-old flint tools at the site before stumbling on the bottles, also found dozens of belt buckles, uniform buttons and riding tools in the building.

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