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Researchers went to photograph an inscription in a cave near Ein Gedi and also found there a weapon cache from the time of the Bar Kochba rebellion

In Selik, four swords and a bayonet head were found that are about 1900 years old and were preserved in wooden and leather cases, in excellent condition * "This is chilling evidence of a moment in time," say the researchers from the Antiquities Authority and Ariel University * A new article published in the Moskva book today, which deals with the innovations in archeology discovered in the Judean Desert survey, suggests that the swords were taken as spoils of war, and were hidden in a cave by Jewish rebels

Taking the swords out of the closet where they were hidden. Photo: Emil Eljam, Antiquities Authority
Taking the swords out of the closet where they were hidden. Photo: Emil Eljam, Antiquities Authority

A sensational find in the Judean Desert: a slip of four Roman swords and a javelin head from about 1900 years ago, was discovered in a hidden alcove in a cave in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, with the findings in an excellent state of preservation. It seems that the weapons were removed by Jewish rebels who hid in caves after they were taken as spoils of war from the Roman army. "Finding one such sword is rare, so four? its a dream. We rubbed our eyes to believe," say the researchers.

This morning, at a press conference held in Jerusalem, with the participation of the Director of the Antiquities Authority Eli Escozido and the researchers, the rare weapons were presented for the first time. This, as part of the launch of the book New Studies in the Archeology of the Judean Desert: Collected Papers which deals with the archaeological innovations discovered in the survey of the Judean Desert.

The weapons were discovered in a small, hidden cave located in an isolated and difficult-to-access rocky area north of Ein Gedi, in the area of ​​the Ein Gedi Reserve managed by the Nature and Parks Authority. In this cave, about 50 years ago, the remains of a fragmentary Hebrew inscription written in ink on a stalactite, in the ancient Hebrew script typical of the days of the First Temple, were discovered.

Recently, the cave was visited Dr. Assaf Gayer from the Department of Land of Israel and Archeology at Ariel University, geologist Boaz Langford from the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Cave Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Shai Halevi, photographer of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Their goal was to take a photo of the Hebrew inscription on the stalactite with multispectral photography, which makes it possible to decipher additional parts of the inscription that are not visible to the eye. During their tour of the upper level of the cave, Dr. Geyer found in a deep and narrow cave a javelin head (Roman filum - throwing javelin; Pilum) in an exceptional state of preservation. In a nearby ditch, Geyer located pieces of processed wood that later turned out to be part of sword sheaths.

The researchers reported this discovery to the archaeological survey team of the Antiquities Authority, which is currently managing a systematic scientific project in the caves of the Judean Desert. As part of this survey, which is being held at the initiative of the Antiquities Authority and in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and the Archeology Department of the Civil Administration, over the past six years hundreds of Caves in the Judean Desert and 24 archaeological excavations were conducted in selected caves, with the aim of saving the unique archaeological remains - preserved in the Judean Desert, from the looting of antiquities.

The members of the Yehuda Desert cave survey team - along with Dr. Geyer and Boaz Langford, came to the cave a second time and conducted a careful survey of all the cracks. During this activity, in the additional cave, in the upper and hidden level of the cave, in a narrow and deep crack between two stalactites, the researchers were amazed to discover an extraordinary "treasure" - the clearance of four Roman swords. The swords were excellently preserved, three of them were found while their iron blade is inside a wooden scabbard. Inside the hut were also found parts of leather straps and metal and wooden objects that belonged to the set of swords. Swords have designed handles, made of wood or metal. The length of the blade of three of the swords is about 60-65 cm, a given that allows them to be identified as Roman 'sofas' (Roman Spatha) and another shorter sword, with a blade length of about 45 cm, was identified with the type ofRing Pommel Sword. The swords were carefully removed from the crack and transferred within a short time to treatment and preservation under climate control conditions in the Antiquities Authority laboratories. Upon initial inspection of the assemblage, it turns out that these are standard swords that were used by the army soldiers stationed in the Land of Israel during the Roman period.

"The disposal of the swords and the head of the bayonet in deep cracks in an isolated cave north of Ein Gedi suggests that the weapons were taken as loot from Roman soldiers or from the battlefield and were deliberately hidden by Jewish rebels for reuse," says Dr. Eitan Klein, director of the Judean Desert Survey Project. "It is likely that the rebels did not want to be caught with their weapons on them, in an encounter with the Roman authorities." We are only at the beginning of the research of the cave and the set of weapons discovered in it, and our goal is to try and find out who owned the swords, where they were made and when, and by whom. We will try to understand what is the historical event that led to the removal of the weapons in the cave, and if indeed it was during the Bar Kochba rebellion, which took place in the years 132-135 AD."

With the discovery of the swords, it was decided to hold an organized archaeological dig in the cave on behalf of the Antiquities Authority under the management of researchers Uriah Amichai, Hagai Hamer, Dr. Eitan Klein and Amir Ganor. The cave was fully excavated, and findings from the Chalcolithic period (about 6,000 years ago) and the Roman period (about 2,000 years ago) were discovered. At the foot of the cave's entrance is a bronze coin from the days of the Bar-Kochva rebellion - perhaps a hint of the time period when the cave was used as a clearing.

According to Amir Ganor, director of the Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit and managers of the Yehuda Desert survey project, "The Judean Desert never ceases to surprise us. After six years of survey and excavations, in which over 800 caves were systematically documented along 170 kilometers of cliff line, we are still discovering new treasures in caves. During the years of the operation, we encountered - unfortunately, in the desert, dozens of caves that had been looted and looted since 1947, I don't want to think what loss of historical knowledge would have occurred if antiquities robbers had also reached this amazing find before the archaeologists. This time, thanks to the state operation that the Antiquities Authority initiated and carried out in the desert, we were able to get ahead of the antiquities robbers, save the findings and allow the public and researchers from all over the world to enjoy the exciting discovery."

According to Dr. Assaf Gayer from the Department of Land of Israel and Archeology at Ariel University, it is an extraordinary privilege to take part in such a discovery and the excitement is great. The inscription and the weapons teach us a new chapter about the way Jews used the caves of the Judean desert in the different periods. The wealth of finds reveals another and exciting side that passed through the ancient settlement of Banat Ein Gedi.

According to the Minister of Heritage Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu, "Like previous discoveries in the Judean Desert, we are once again exposed to exciting finds that show us a glimpse of the daily life of our ancestors who lived here about 2,000 years ago. The finding of the swords in a cave where an inscription in Hebrew from the time of the Temple was found is further evidence of the long-standing tradition of the people of Israel regarding the importance of the book and the saifah, the spiritual and physical heritage as well. The many years of the people of Israel in their country".

"This is a chilling and exciting discovery, touching a moment in time," he said Eli Escozido, director of the Antiquities Authority. "Not everyone knows that due to the dry climatic conditions, finds are preserved in the desert that have not survived elsewhere in the country. It is a unique time capsule, in which, among other things, fragments of a scroll, coins from the Jewish revolt, leather sandals, and now - much to the excitement - razor-sharp swords in sheaths, which seem to have been removed today, are discovered. The Yehuda desert survey, which was done in important collaboration with the Ministry of Heritage and the Archeology Committee in the Civil Administration, is writing new and fascinating pages for us in the history books, and I am proud of the launch of the first book in the series."

The first article about the swords is published in the book New Studies in the Archeology of the Judean Desert: Collected Papers, which will be launched tonight in Jerusalem. The authors of the article: Dr. Eitan Klein from the Antiquities Authority, Dr. Assaf Geyer from the Department of Land of Israel and Archeology at Ariel University, Amir Ganor, Hagi Hamer, Oriya Amihai and Shai Halevi from the Antiquities Authority, Boaz Langford from the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Cave Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dr. R. Guy Stibel from the Department of Archeology at Tel Aviv University.

2 תגובות

  1. Why are you advertising that all the cousins ​​will come now and snoop there day and night, the antiquities robbers

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