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Archaeologists discover burial cave filled with intact pottery dating to Ramses II, Exodus from Egypt

Archaeology discovery
Video showing Israel Antiquities Authority inspector Uzi Rothstein at the site outside the cave. |

Israeli archaeologists said they have discovered an extremely rare 3,300 years old intact burial cave from the time of Pharaoh Ramses II, who is thought to be the pharaoh from the biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt.

It’s a “find of a lifetime,” said Eli Yannai, an expert on the Bronze Age at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“It’s like a set from ‘Indiana Jones’ — a cave with vessels on the floor that haven’t been touched for 3,300 years,” Haaretz quoted Yannai as saying.

It’s from the Late Bronze Age, “exactly the time of the notorious pharaoh, Ramesses II.”

Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great who reigned from about 1279 B.C. to 1213 B.C., expanded ancient Egypt’s sway as far as modern Syria to the northeast and Sudan to the south.

The ancient cave provides a “full picture” of burial traditions during that period, Yannai added.

It was discovered accidentally at the construction site of Palmahim Beach National Park on the southern Israeli coast after a tractor moved a rock and revealed the cave’s ceiling, The Jerusalem Post reported, adding that an inspector for the Nature and Parks Authority, Dror Czitron, was then called to the site.

A team of archaeologists descended a ladder into the dark cave that “appeared to have frozen in time,” according to a statement by the IAA, which said they found several items in it.

Some items — like amphorae and bowls of various types and forms, cooking vessels and oil lamps — were seemingly meant to serve the deceased in the afterlife, they said.

The other items included tiny vessels with small amounts of precious substances that were possibly brought from Tyre, Sidon and other ports in Lebanon.

The cave also had bronze arrowheads and spear tips.

“In the cave, mainly dozens of pottery vessels of various sizes and shapes were left,” Yannai was quoted as saying.

The vessels included shallow bowls, some of them painted red, and cooking pots, jugs and clay candles with oil for light, Yannai added.

The IAA statement did not say if the team found in the cave any human remains, or any inscriptions or artifacts that could possibly identify the individual(s), Live Science noted

“The news of the discovery of the cave spread like wildfire in the academic world, and we have already received requests from many scholars to take part in the planned archaeological excavation,” Eli Eskosido, the IAA’s director-general, and Raya Shurky, director of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, were quoted as saying in a statement.

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