Living in an ancient land, Israelis often happen upon priceless archeological treasures when they’re out walking.
And if they report their finds into the Israel Antiquities Authority instead of keeping or selling them illegally, they are rewarded — not with money but with gratitude and publicity.
The latest story from comes from the Lower Galilee village of Arraba. Electrician Ahmed Nassar Yassin was walking down a dirt road on his way to a customer’s home.
As he leaned against the mountain ridge, the rock crumbled, exposing ancient-looking storage jars and pouring vessels as well as a copper dagger blade previously attached to a wooden handle with nails.
Yassin collected the items carefully and contacted the IAA. Nir Distelfeld of the authority’s Theft Prevention Unit soon arrived to examine the finds.
“The artifacts appear to have been exposed as a result of prior damage caused to an ancient burial cave by a mechanical tool,” Distelfeld said.
“I estimate that these are from the Intermediate Bronze Age, some 4,500 years ago, and were placed in the burial cave together with the dead buried there to accompany and serve them in the afterlife–typical of burial procedures at this period.”
The burial cave was from an era previously unknown in the IAA’s research of this area, Distelfeld added.
“Ahmed’s conscientious decision contributed to the archeological puzzle of the Land of Israel. If the head of the council is interested in setting up an archeological display in the village, we would be happy to exhibit the artifacts for the public to see and learn about the history of the place.”
According to Distelfeld, “Ahmed showed good citizenship from the start by delivering the findings to the Antiquities Authority. He told me there were some who called him a dupe and a traitor in that he handed the artifacts over to the state, but he chose to actas a law-abiding citizen. Ahmed realized that this was not his private property, but a legacy belonging to the general public.”