An “extremely rare” ancient burial cave found on a beach in Israel

An “extremely rare” ancient burial cave found on a beach in Israel

On Sunday, Israeli archaeologists announced the “once in a lifetime” discovery of a burial cave from the time of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II, filled with dozens of pieces of pottery and bronze artifacts.

The cave was discovered on the beach on Tuesday, when a mechanical digger working in the Palmahim national park hit its roof, while archaeologists were using a ladder to enter the large square man-made cave.

In a video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority, amazing archaeologists flash lights on a multitude of pottery vessels of various shapes and sizes, dating back to the reign of an ancient Egyptian king who died in 1213 BC.

In a Facebook post, the authority said the burial cave “looks like an ‘Indiana Jones’ movie set.”

“Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority moved to the site, descended a ladder into the amazing space that seemed frozen in time,” the authority said in a statement.

Bowls — some painted red, some containing bones — chalices, cooking pots, storage jars, lamps and bronze arrowheads or spearheads could be seen in the caves.

The objects were burial offerings to accompany the deceased on their final journey to the afterlife, found untouched since being placed there some 3,300 years ago.

At least one fairly intact skeleton was found in two rectangular plots in the corner of the cave.

“The cave can provide a complete picture of Late Bronze Age burial customs,” said Eli Yannai, Bronze Age expert of the IAA.

It’s an “extremely rare … once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” Yannai said, pointing to the additional success of the cave being sealed until its recent discovery.

The findings relate to the reign of Rameses II, who ruled Canaan, a territory that roughly included present-day Israel and the territories of Palestine.

The provenance of the pottery vessels – Cyprus, Lebanon, northern Syria, Gaza and Jaffa – is evidence of the “vibrant trading activity that took place along the coast”, Yannai said in a statement from the IAA.

Another IAA archaeologist, David Gelman, theorized about the identity of the skeletons in the cave, located on a popular beach in central Israel today.

“The fact that these people were buried with weapons, including full arrows, shows that these people may have been warriors, they may have been guards on ships – that may have been why they were able to receive vessels from all over the area. ,” he said.

Regardless of who lived in the cave, the find was “unbelievable,” Gelman said.

“Burial caves are rare as they are, and you rarely find one that wasn’t first used 3,300 years ago,” he said.

“It feels like something out of an Indiana Jones movie: just going into the ground and everything is just laying there as it was at first – intact pottery vessels, weapons, vessels made of bronze, burials just as they were they.”

The cave has been resealed and is under protection while a plan for its excavation is being formulated, the IAA said.

He noted that “a few items” had been removed from it in the short period between its discovery and closure.

The discovery is the latest in a series of recent archaeological finds in Israel.

Last month, scientists discovered a a lavish 1,200 year old estate in the desert of southern Israel, just two months after rare an ancient mosque Found in the same region.

Also in August, archaeologists recently announced they found the tusk titanic of a prehistoric pachyderm near a kibbutz in southern Israel.

Meanwhile, recently discovered the Byzantine era ornamental mosaics in Gaza — uncovered just half a mile from Israel’s border — excited the archaeologists. But he is also calling for better protection of Gaza’s antiquities, a fragile collection of sites threatened by a lack of awareness and resources as well as the ongoing threat of conflict between Israel and local Palestinian militants.

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