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Four 1900-year-old Roman swords were recently discovered in a cave in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve near the Dead Sea in Israel. A team of archaeologists was at the cave to photograph a well-known stalactite that bears an inscription written in ancient Hebrew script that is similar to that used during the First Temple period. While there they happened to find the swords lodged in a crevice. Three of the iron swords were still in their wooden and leather sheaths, and were the size of Roman “spatha” swords (24 to 26 in.; 60 to 65 cm), while the fourth sword was a shorter ring-pommel sword (18 in; 45 cm). The initial theory is that these swords were taken from Roman soldiers by Jewish rebels during the Bar Kokhba Revolt (AD 132 to 135) and hidden in the cave. An article on the swords has been published in “New Studies in the Archaeology of the Judean Desert: Collected Papers.”


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