Israeli experts say they discovered ‘rare’ ancient burial cave

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JERUSALEM – Israeli archaeologists reported on Sunday the “once-in-a-lifetime” discovery of a burial cave from the reign of ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II, which contained dozens of ceramic fragments and bronze objects.

The cave was discovered on a beach lately after a mechanized digger operating at the Palmahim national park collided with its roof, and archaeologists descended into the huge, man-made square cave using a ladder.

Archaeologists shine flashlights on dozens of clay vessels in a range of forms and sizes going back to the reign of the ancient Egyptian monarch who died in 1213 B.C. in a video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The cave contained bowls — some painted red, some holding bones — footed chalices, cooking pots, storage jars, torches, and bronze arrowheads or spearheads.

The artefacts were discovered intact after being deposited there approximately 3,300 years ago.

In two rectangular plots in the cave’s corner, at least one relatively preserved skeleton was also discovered.

“The cave may provide a complete picture of Late Bronze Age funerary rituals,” said scholar Eli Yannai.

It is a “very unusual… once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” Yannai added, pointing out the cave’s additional fortunate of remaining sealed until its recent discovery.

The discoveries date back to Rameses II’s reign, when he ruled over a realm that roughly comprised modern-day Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The pottery vessels’ provenance — Cyprus, Lebanon, northern Syria, Gaza, and Jaffa — attests to the “lively trading activity that took place along the coast,” according to Yannai.

The cave has been resealed and is under surveillance while a plan for its excavation is developed, according to the authority, noting that “a few items” were plundered from it in the short time between its discovery and closure.

Source: AFP

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