The discovery is extraordinary because, as one of the scientists said: “Finding a sword of this kind is already very rare. But finding four of them is downright a dream!”.
It all started, in fact, half a century ago. Researchers had already spotted in this almost inaccessible cave on a cliff overlooking the Ein Gedi nature reserve, near the Dead Sea, a very ancient Hebrew inscription. made on screen on a stalactite. It was to come and photograph this old find with new analysis tools that a team of archaeologists and scientists went there in 2022.
But quickly, they made other discoveries. First a Roman pilum, hidden in a deep crevasse. Then pieces of wood worked in a side niche. As they approached closer, the researchers realized thatit was actually sword scabbards that surrounded another three swords. These swords still present their handles of wood or metal and form weapons of about 60 cm, which the Romans used for close combat, after throwing their pilum at first. Leather and metal residues were also found.
And the result is amazing as the video shows. Four Roman swords in an exceptional state of preservation are thus discovered in this cave which was probably used as a cache of weapons for Jewish rebels of the 1st century. Typical Roman weapons from the 1st century AD, stolen or recovered after battles with the Roman occupiers and which the rebels could not keep with them on a daily basis.
From now on, the work of archaeologists continues in the laboratory to try to understand the origin of these weapons, their date of production and the historical events which could give a framework to their capture. On site, in the cave, excavations have found traces of human presence dating back six millennia in the past, to the Chalcolithic era.
Rebellions by legion
It must be said that the period when Jesus comes into the world is particularly troubled. Two centuries earlier, the revolt of the sons of Maccabee had already raised armed militias against the occupier. After the death of Jesus, other Jewish zealots multiply the blows of actions during decades. The revolt of Bar Kokhba, around 132-135 was the last stand of honor which ended in a bloodbath, the capture of the various strongholds of the Jewish militias and the final destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, razed to leave place to an ordinary Roman city, Aelia Capitolina. Here, at the entrance to the cave in question, a bronze piece from the time of this ultimate revolt was found.
A desert under surveillance
In fact, it has been years now that the israeli antiquities authorities have set up a monitoring and research program in all the many caves that abound in the Judean Desert south and east of the city of Jerusalem. Over the past six years, hundreds of caves have been visited and more than twenty excavations have been carried out in several of them. It was in some of these caves, particularly near Qumran, that more than 200 biblical and non-biblical parchments were found in 1949. One of the greatest biblical discoveries of the past century.