Tel Aviv, June 4
Police detectives working in eastern Jerusalem who stopped a vehicle discovered 2,000-year-old bricks with imprints of Roman seals on Tuesday night, the Israeli Police announced on Wednesday.
A 68-year-old Palestinian was arrested and is suspected of intending to sell the bricks on the black market.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, which has examined the artefacts, the bricks came from the Hebron area and were used in a structure by the Roman military unit that destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in 70 CE. The Authority said the bricks suggest the existence of a new historical military camp in the Hebron area that has not been recognized in research.
The Roman military continued using those types of bricks during their rule until the Bar Kochba revolt of 132 CE.
"In our routine activities, we usually come across serious and classic crime and fewer criminals related to archaeological finds," said Itzik Gor, of the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office.
"This time, together with the Antiquities Authority, we uncovered significant findings with historical and archaeological importance and caught a person who possessed them and was suspected of intending to sell them in violation of the law. We will continue to work with all enforcement authorities in Israel to deal with crime in all its forms, including those who trade and possess archaeological finds in violation of the law."
The suspect is currently in custody and is expected to face charges related to the illegal possession and attempted sale of archaeological artefacts.
According to the Authority, antiquities theft is often carried out by organized gangs who dig illegally at pre-determined sites and shift locations every night to evade authorities. Stolen artefacts are typically sold on the black market.
Israel has more than 33,000 antiquities sites. (ANI/TPS)