Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority have made an extraordinary discovery: four swords dating back to Roman times and the point of a javelin have emerged from a cave located in a rugged area near the Dead Sea. These weapons had been hidden by unknown individuals in a narrow ravine 1,900 years ago, as reported by the Authority’s experts during a press conference. Perhaps, the archaeologists hypothesized, the swords belonged to some Jewish rebels: this would be confirmed, among other things, by the presence in the immediate vicinity of the cave of a bronze coin with the effigy of their leader Shimon Bar Kochbà, who led an insurrection against the Romans in the years 132-35 AD
Also found the holsters, the archaeologists: “Swords still sharp”
“This is an extremely rare discovery for us,” said Eitan Klein, deputy director of the Authority’s unit engaged in the fight against trafficking in archaeological finds. “We had never seen such swords before.” The swords, the experts added, were in an excellent state of conservation and showed no traces of rust: “They are sharp – they assured – even today”. In addition to the apex of a ‘pilum’ (javelin), three swords with a 60-65 cm blade were hidden in the ravine. (‘Roman spatha’) and a smaller one, with a 45 cm blade. and a ring-shaped pommel. There were also the remains of their holsters.
For six years systematic archaeological research in the Dead Sea area
Authority director Eli Eksosido explained that this and numerous other discoveries are the result of six years of systematic research by his experts in 600-800 caves located in an area of 170 kilometers on the shore of the Dead Sea, in the desert of Judea between Ein Gedi and Qumran. To reach them it was often necessary to lower ropes into particularly inaccessible areas and then use sophisticated equipment inside them. All this, he added, with the aim of anticipating – as far as possible – the traffickers of archaeological finds. “At the sight of the swords – he concluded – we all had a sinking heart”.