Tag Archive for Antiquities

Antiquities thieves vandalize burial site, skeletons at ancient Judean Desert fortress

The desecrated cave, at one of the seven Hasmonean fortresses ordered built by King Herod to protect the eastern border of the Judean Kingdom, came under attack by antiquities robbers since they’re unprotected due to a systematic lack of funding.



Tomb raiders recently destroyed human skulls and skeletal remains buried in a mysterious cave near the ancient Hasmonean fortress of Horkania in the northern Judean Desert between Jericho and the Dead Sea.

The fortress, believed to have been constructed around 120 BCE by its namesake, John Hyrcanus, was one of seven ordered built by King Herod to protect the eastern border of the Judean Kingdom from the Edomites and other enemies. Continue Reading »

Oldest Ten Commandments to be auctioned in Beverly Hills with opening bid of $250,000


So that the stone tablet didn’t have 11 Commandments, taking God’s name in vain was replaced with new one commanding worship at Mount Gerizim.

By i24news


The oldest stone inscription of the Ten Commandments discovered so far is being auctioned this week with an opening bid of $250,000 and the requirement that the owner must put the artifact on public display, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The oldest stone inscription of the Ten Commandments is being auctioned - Photo: Heritage Auctions

The oldest stone inscription of the Ten Commandments is being auctioned – Photo: Heritage Auctions

The tablet was discovered near Israel’s Yavneh during excavations for a railroad station in 1913 and is believed to be the only intact tablet version of the commandments. Continue Reading »

Israel arrests Norwegian embassy driver for attempt to smuggle out antiquities


Norwegian Embassy chauffeur, Issa Najam of East Jerusalem, was stopped and arrested while attempting to leave the country, while driving a senior Norwegian diplomat in official diplomatic vehicle.

By i24news


Hidden Antiquities found in a Norwegian diplomatic vehicle on May 31, 2016, at the Allenby – Israel Tax Authority

A chauffeur for Israel’s Norwegian Embassy was arrested last week at the Allenby Crossing to Jordan for allegedly trying to smuggle 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of antiquities out of the country, the Times of Israel reported on Monday, citing a Tax Authority statement.

The driver, named as Issa Najam of East Jerusalem, was stopped at the crossing while in an official diplomatic vehicle and accompanied by a senior Norwegian diplomat, according to the Times of Israel. Continue Reading »

Busted: 3,000 ancient coins discovered in a kibbutznik’s home


Ancient coins were confiscated from a kibbutznik antiquities dealer in northern Israel, who’s suspected of illegal sale of artifacts.

By i24news


Agents of Israel’s Antiquities Authority along with police arrested an art dealer in northern Israel on Tuesday after finding over 3,000 ancient coins he obtained illegally, reported Israel’s Haaretz.

Ancient coins and jars confiscated from an antiquities dealer in northern Israel suspected of illegal sale of artifacts . – Photos : Israel’s Antiquities Authority

The coins, which have been valued in the tens of thousands of dollars, were found in the man’s home in Kibbutz Beit Hashita around 8 kilometers from Beit She’an, which was a major Greek city during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Continue Reading »

Mysterious ‘Stonehenge’ in Golan Heights Vexes Israeli Archaeologists


Weighing in at over 40,000 tons, the enigmatic concentric circles known as the “Wheel of Spirits” is made of thousands of basalt rocks that are some 5,000 year old. 
• “We have bits of information, but not the whole picture,” admits an Israeli antiquities expert.

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


Driving past it, one of the most mysterious structures in the Middle East is easy to miss. The prehistoric stone monument went unnoticed for centuries in a bare expanse of field on the Golan Heights.

Gilgal Refaim, Israel’s “Stonehenge”: Scholars generally agree that construction started as early as 3,500 BCE – Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After Israel captured the territory from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, archaeologists studying an aerial survey spotted a pattern of stone circles not visible from the ground. Continue Reading »

‘Cursed’ Antiquity Thief Returns Roman ‘Catapult Balls’ With Letter

‘They brought me nothing but aggravation,’ admits anonymous culprit in a letter he attached to the 2,000 yr-old Roman projectiles stolen 20 years earlier.

By Itay Blumental


Museum robberies are rare, but rarer still is the thief who anonymously returns his prize. 

Photo: Dr. Dalia ManorPhoto: Dr. Dalia Manor

That’s exactly what happened Monday morning when two ancient projectile stones that were stolen from the Gamla Nature Reserve 20 years ago were found at the Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures in Be’er Sheva with a note from the culprit.

“These are the two Roman catapult balls from Gamla… I stole them in 1995,” wrote the thief. Continue Reading »

American couple donate rare antiquities collection to Israel Museum

The Belfer collection, of over 350 rare artifacts are considered ‘among most significant private collection of antiquities in the world.’

By i24news


US donors are giving the Israel Museum a collection of more than 350 artifacts “considered among the most significant private holdings of antiquities in the world,” the museum said Wednesday.

2 coins

It said in a statement that “select objects” from the collection of New York art patrons Robert and Renee Belfer would go on show at the museum in Jerusalem from June, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations.

“The Belfer collection features hundreds of ancient Greco-Roman and Near-Eastern glass vessels, recognized as some of the most impressive specimens of their kind, as well as important early examples of Greco-Roman sculpture in bronze, marble, and mosaic,” it said. Continue Reading »

Ancient Jewish Texts Found in Afghan Cave to be Displayed Next Week

The ancient texts that were found in an Afghanistan genizah estimated to be 1000 years old, include the writings of Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, will be unveiled next week.

By Tova Dvorin



The National Library will hold a special event next week to debut ancient texts found in an Afghanistan genizah, or storage area for old Jewish texts. The texts are estimated to be over 1000 years old and include writings from post-Talmudic Jewish leader Rabbi Saadiah Gaon.

Professor Hagai Ben-Shammai, academic director of the National Library spoke to Arutz Sheva Monday about the event, and revealed that thousands of texts were found in the genizah – some dating back to the first century CE.  Continue Reading »

Israel is to return stolen sarcophagus lids to Egypt

After lengthy negotiation, Cairo says Israel agreed to return 2 stolen sarcophagus covers that were found in Jerusalem’s Old City, back to Egypt.

By Roi Kais


Israel will return to Egypt two wooden artifacts that had been plucked out two ancient caskets dating to the Modern Kingdom, Cairo said Wednesday.

Inspectors of the Unit for Prevention of Antiquities Robbery foundparts of two stolen Egyptian sarcophagus covers in April while checking shops in a marketplace in the Old City of Jerusalem.

אחד ממכסי ארונות הקבורה שחלקים ממנו נתפסו בשוק בירושלים (צילום: קלרה עמית, באדיבות רשות העתיקות)

Sarcophagus cover -Photo Clara Amit, courtesy of Antiquities Authority

The two plaster-covered wooden lids had been sawed in two, causing irreparable damage. Continue Reading »

2,000 year old treasure found in Kiryat Gat

Hoard of jewels, silver and gold coins from Roman period uncovered at rescue dig carried out by Antiquities Authority in south

Handmade earring with floral pattern Photo: Antiquities Authority

Handmade earring with floral pattern - Photo: Antiquities Authority


Worth its weight in gold: An impressive hoard of jewels, silver and gold coins from the Roman period was recently discovered at a rescue dig carried out by the Antiquities Authorityin the Kiryat Gat area.

The dig exposed the remnants of a structure from Roman and Byzantine times. When excavating near the structure’s courtyard the archeologists noticed a pit that was dug out and refilled.

To the archeologist’s surprise, the pit revealed an incredible treasure wrapped in cloth – scraps of which still remained among the findings. Continue Reading »