Very unusual Israel discovers a burial cave from Rameses II

A mechanical digger has uncovered a burial cave from the time of ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II at an Israeli beach.   The square, man-made cave was found last week at Palmahim National Park when the digger hit its roof.

In a video released by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), archaeologists shine flashlights on pottery that dates back to the reign of the ancient Egyptian king, who died in 1213 BC.

Extremely rare' Rameses II-era burial cave found in Israel

It showed bowls — some containing bones — chalices, cooking pots, storage jars, lamps and bronze arrows or spearheads.

The objects were burial offerings to accompany the dead on their journey to the afterlife, untouched since they were put there about 3,300 years ago.

At least one relatively intact skeleton was also found in two rectangular plots in the corner of the cave.

“The cave may furnish a complete picture of the Late Bronze Age funerary customs,” said Eli Yannai, an IAA Bronze Age expert.He said it was an “extremely rare … once-in-a-lifetime discovery”.

The provenance of the vessels — from Cyprus, Lebanon, northern Syria, Gaza and Jaffa — showed “lively trading activity that took place along the coast”, Dr Yannai said.

Rameses II controlled Canaan, a territory encompassing modern-day Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Another IAA archaeologist, David Gelman, said the people buried there may have been warriors.

Frozen in time: 3,300-year-old burial cave from Ramses II era found at  popular beach | The Times of Israel

The contents are believed to be evidence of “lively trading activity”.

“The fact that these people were buried along with weapons, including entire arrows, shows that these people might have been warriors, perhaps they were guards on ships — which may have been the reason they were able to obtain vessels from all around the area,” he said.

“Burial caves are rare as it is, and finding one that hasn’t been touched since it was first used 3,300 years ago is something you rarely ever find.

“It feels like something out of an Indiana Jones movie: just going into the ground and everything is just laying there as it was initially — intact pottery vessels, weapons, vessels made out of bronze, burials just as they were.”The cave has been resealed and is under guard while archaeologists develop a plan to excavate it, the IAA said.

It said, “a few items” had been looted between its discovery and when it was closed.

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