Ancient artifacts seized in home of Hebron Arab

Coins and jars from the Roman, Umayyad and Byzantine periods found in undercover investigation.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An undercover investigation led to the seizure Monday of dozens of ancient artifacts from the home of an Arab in Hebron.

The finds included coins and pottery ranging from the late Bronze Age (1200-500 BCE) to the Roman, Umayyad and Byzantine periods, a nearly 2,800-year span.

It is suspected that the artifacts come from a looted burial cave in the Tel Hebron site, which dates back to Biblical times. A 55-year-old local was arrested and the antiquities were transferred to the Archeology Department of the Civil Administration.

The raid on the home was conducted by the Hebron police and staffers of the Archeology Department in a joint operation with the local office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories that included the aid of soldiers of the Haruv Battalion.

“The rare archaeological finds that were discovered tonight in Hebron constitute another layer to the ancient story that we learn every day about the history of Judea and Samaria,” said Civil Administration official Hanania Hizmi.

“The Civil Administration will continue to act with a harsh hand against those who seek to damage the archaeological sites and findings in the area. I welcome this action and thank all the partners in the security system who work together with us on this important goal.”

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The tel, or mound is unusual in that it is nestled in one of the Jewish residential areas of the city called Admot Yishai, which was established in 1984. Several families live there in caravan-style homes and a building called Beit Menachem, which was built in 2005 and contains the carefully preserved ruins of an Israelite home from 4,000 years ago.

Hebron’s ancient lineage goes even further back, as attested to a three-meter-high wall in the tel estimated to be 500 years older than that.

In July, the Israel Antiquities Authority and police notched an even bigger victory over archeological-treasure-hunting thieves, when they raided a home in Afula and found thousands of items, including ancient gold, silver, and bronze coins, seals with Greek inscriptions, and primitive weapons.

In March, a similar arrest operation in Jerusalem uncovered biblical-era artifacts which included rare objects made of bone and ivory that had Egyptian motifs.