OAN’s James Meyers
11:30 AM – Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Researchers in Israel have discovered “four 1,900-year-old, excellently preserved Roman swords” in a cave overlooking the Dead Sea, the country’s antiquities authority announced on Wednesday.
Three of the swords, whose iron blades are 60-65cm long, were contained in wooden scabbards.
Archaeologists believe that Judean rebels had buried the swords and the head of a javelin, known as a pilum, after taking them from the Roman army.
“The hiding of the swords and the pilum in deep cracks in the isolated cave north of Ein Gedi, hints that the weapons were taken as booty from Roman soldiers or from the battlefield, and purposely hidden by the Judean rebels for reuse,” Eitan Klein, a director with the Judean Desert Survey Project, said in a statement released by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
“Obviously, the rebels did not want to be caught by the Roman authorities carrying these weapons. We are just beginning the research on the cave and the weapon cache discovered in it, aiming to try to find out who owned the swords, and where, when, and by whom they were manufactured,” he added. “We will try to pinpoint the historical event that led to caching of these weapons in the cave and determine whether it was at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 132-135 CE.”
The swords were classified based on their typology but have not yet undergone radiocarbon dating.
The discovery was part of the antiquities authority’s Judean Desert Survey. Their main objective is to document and dig out caves near the Dead Sea in order to find scrolls before looters have a chance to ransack them.
“The Judean Desert Cave Survey Team… were astonished to find the four Roman Swords in an almost inaccessible crevice on the upper level of the cave. The swords were exceptionally well preserved, and three were found with the iron blade inside the wooden scabbards,” it added.
However, Guy Stiebel, a Tel Aviv University archaeologist specializing in Roman military history, stated that since the swords were found on the eastern edge of the Roman Empire, that they were most likely crafted in a European province and brought to the province of Judea by soldiers.
“They also reflect a much grander narrative of the entire Roman Empire and the fact that from a small cave in a very remote place on the edge of the empire, we can actually shed light about those mechanisms is the greatest joy that the scientist can have,” Stiebel concluded.
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts