Israeli archaeologists announced on Sunday “extremely rare” discovery of a burial cave from the time of pharaoh Ramses II, full of ceramic pieces and bronze objects.
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The cave was discovered on a beach on Tuesday, when a mechanical excavator working in Palmahim National Park, south of Tel Aviv, hit its roof.
The archaeologists they used a ladder to get down to the spacious square-shaped cave.
In a video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), archaeologists lanterns illuminate dozens of ceramic vessels of various shapes and sizes, dating back to the period of the dead pharaoh in 1213 BC
In the cave you could see cbowls, some painted red and others containing bones, as well as chalices, pots, jugs, lamps, and bronze arrowheads or spearheads.
The objects were funerary offerings to accompany the deceased on their final journey to the afterlife and have been found intact since they were placed there some 3,300 years ago.
At least one relatively intact skeleton was also found in two rectangular plots.
“The cave can provide a comprehensive picture of Late Bronze Age burial customs,” said Eli Yannai, a Bronze Age expert at the Antiquities Authority.
It is an “extremely rare (…) once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” according to Yannai, who spoke of the luck that the cave had remained sealed until its recent discovery.
“When I saw the objects on Palmahim beach, my eyes immediately lit up, a discovery like this only happens once in a lifetime. Finding the objects intact, untouched from their first use, is amazing,” David Gelman, AAI archaeologist, enthused.
They date from the period of Ramesses II, who controlled Canaan, a territory that roughly encompasses present-day Israel, the Palestinian territories, and parts of Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, according to the AAI.
The provenance of the pottery – Cyprus, Lebanon, northern Syria, Gaza and Jaffa – testifies to “intense trading activity along the coast,” Yannai said in a statement.
The cave has been sealed again and is under surveillance while an excavation plan is being formulated, the AAI said.
With information from AFP