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    4 Exceptionally Preserved Roman Swords Discovered in a Dead Sea Cave in Israel

    4 Exceptionally Preserved Roman Swords Discovered in a Dead Sea Cave in Israel

    — Four Roman-era swords, their wooden and leather hilts and scabbards and steel blades exquisitely preserved after 1,900 years in a desert cave, surfaced in a recent excavation by Israeli archaeologists near the Dead Sea, the Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.

    The cache of exceptionally intact artifacts was found about two months ago and tells a story of empire and rebellion, of long-distance conquest and local insurrection.

    Researchers, who published the preliminary findings in a newly released book, propose that the arms — four swords and the head of a javelin, known as a pilum — were stashed in the remote cavern by Jewish rebels during an uprising against the Roman Empire in the 130s.

    The swords were dated based on their typology, and have not yet undergone radiocarbon dating.

    The find was part of the antiquities authority's Judean Desert Survey, which aims to document and excavate caves near the Dead Sea and secure scrolls and other precious artifacts before looters have a chance to plunder them.

    The cool, arid and stable climate of the desert caves has allowed exceptional preservation of organic remains, including hundreds of ancient parchment fragments known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Those Jewish texts, discovered last century and dated to the first centuries BCE and CE, contain the earliest known versions of the Hebrew Bible, as well an assortment of esoteric writings.

    Archaeologists…

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