Rameses II-Era Burial Cave Found in Israel

'Once in a Lifetime' Discovery: Rameses II-Epoch Burial Cave Found in Israel

At least one intact skeleton was also found in two rectangular cells in the cave.


Israeli archaeologists on Sunday announced the “once-in-a-lifetime” discovery of a burial cave from the time of Pharaoh Rameses II of ancient Egypt, filled with dozens of pottery shards and artifacts copper work.

The cave was discovered on a beach Tuesday, when a mechanical excavator working at Palmahim national park crashed into its roof, with archaeologists using a ladder to descend into the cave-shaped cave. spacious artificial square.

In a video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority, connoisseurs of archaeologists shine flashlights at dozens of ceramic vases of various shapes and sizes, dating from the time of the kings of ancient Egypt through was born in 1213 BC.

Bowls can be seen – some of them painted red, some with bones – cups, cooking pots, storage jars, lamps and bronze arrowheads or spikes can be seen in the cave.

These objects are burial offerings to accompany the dead on their final journey to the afterlife, found intact since being placed there about 3,300 years ago.

At least one relatively intact skeleton was also found in two rectangular cells in the corner of the cave.

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

It was an “extremely rare … once-in-a-lifetime” discovery, Yannai said, pointing to the cave’s excess wealth that remained sealed off until it was recently discovered.

– ‘Like an Indiana Jones movie’ –

The finds date back to the reign of Rameses II, who controlled Canaan, a territory that roughly comprised present-day Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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

Another IAA archaeologist, David Gelman, theorized the identity of the skeletons in the cave, located in what is now a popular beach in central Israel.

“The fact that these people were buried with weapons, including full arrows, suggests that these people may have been warriors, perhaps they were sentinels on the ship – that could be why they could get ships from all over the region,” he said.

Gelman said whoever the cave’s inhabitants were, the find was “astonishing”.

“Burning caves are rare and finding a cave that hasn’t been touched since it was first used 3,300 years ago is something you rarely find,” he said.

“It feels like something out of an Indiana Jones movie: going underground and everything is still there – the ceramic vase intact, the weapons, the bronze vase, the same burial objects. “

The cave has been closed and is being protected while excavation plans are being made, the IAA said.

It notes that “several items” were robbed from it in the short time between discovery and closure.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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