In 1961, archaeologist Pessah Bar-Adon was searching for the Dead Sea Scrolls on the banks of the Nahal Mishmar, which is a seasonal stream in Israel near the Dead Sea. He didn’t find the scrolls, but he did stumble upon something even more amazing.
He found what is now called the Nahal Mishmar Hoard — a collection of Copper-Age artifacts that includes statues, tools, weapons, crowns, and scepters. In all, there are over 400 items in the hoard made from copper, bronze, ivory, and stone. Of the five crowns that were found, one of them really stands out.
The crown, which is decorated with vultures, is believed to have been used in ancient funeral ceremonies.
The hoard dates from between 4000 and 3500 BCE. It’s believed that this stash had religious significance to the civilization that left it behind. Researchers don’t have all the answers, but a collection like this tells us a lot about the people who once lived in this area. Other finds from the hoard include a statue of a pregnant woman, and a statue of a ram. These are believed to symbolize female and male deities, respectively.
A scepter like this one was also found, along with countless other items. This model is a replica of the original, and it is on display at the Hecht Museum in Haifa.
Archaeologists believe that the hoard might be linked to the Temple of Ein Gedi — an ancient place of worship.
The temple dates from about the same time, and is located about 12 kilometers away from where these objects were found.
(via Cult of Weird)
No one knows why this treasure would have been stashed so far away from the temple. Theories suggest that there may have been an emergency of some sort, such as an invasion or a natural disaster, that caused people to hide the items to protect them. We may never know the real story behind this stash of artifacts, but that only makes it more intriguing.
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