A rare Roman-era weapon was uncovered in a cave in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. Researchers believe that this weapon was used by Jewish rebels and was likely taken from the Romans.
In the cache, four swords and a wooden sword hilt dating back approximately 1,900 years were found. According to the researchers, the weapons were exceptionally well-preserved, which is rare in itself, and even more so considering their relative proximity to the Dead Sea.
According to the researchers' estimates and as outlined in a scientific article discussing the recent discoveries in the Judean Desert, it is highly likely that the swords were seized as war booty and hidden in the cave by Jewish rebels.
The weapons were discovered in a small, hidden cave located in a remote and difficult-to-reach area north of Ein Gedi, within the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve under the management of the Nature and Parks Authority. Approximately 50 years ago, remnants of Hebrew inscriptions on potsherds, written in the ancient Hebrew script characteristic of the First Temple period, were discovered in this cave. The weapons were found in a concealed stash within the cave, and the researchers described the moments of discovery, saying, "Finding one such sword is rare, so four? It's a dream. We had to pinch ourselves to believe it."
The weapons were unveiled this morning during a press conference held in Jerusalem, attended by Eli Eskosido, the director of the Antiquities Authority, and the researchers, where the rare weapons were presented for the first time.
Eitan Klein, one of the project managers for the Judean Desert Survey, explained the discovery and its significance: "The removal of the swords and the sword hilt deep inside an isolated cave, north of Ein Gedi, suggests that these weapons were taken as booty from Roman soldiers or a battlefield and deliberately hidden by Jewish rebels for future use."
Amir Ganor, the director of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, said, "The Judean Desert never ceases to surprise us. After six years of surveys and excavations, during which over 800 caves along a 170-kilometer stretch of the Judean Desert were systematically documented, we are still discovering new treasures in the caves."