Three cave explorers made a significant historical and archaeological discovery while on a hike in Israel.
ChristianToday.com reports that Mickey Barkal, Sefi Givoni, and Ido Meroz were exploring caves in the Judean Spehpelah when they noticed an engraving of a menorah as well as a cross on the wall in one of the caves they were exploring.
They quickly realized this engraving was significant.
"Just before we were about to return we suddenly noticed an engraving that at first glance seemed to be a menorah. When we realized this is an ancient depiction of a menorah, we became very excited. Its appearance was quite distinct. We left the cave and reported the discovery to the Israel Antiquities Authority,” stated Meroz.
Historians and archaeologists have dated the engravings to the Second Temple period, from 530 BCE to 70 CE.
"It is rare to find a wall engraving of a menorah, and this exciting discovery, which was symbolically revealed during the Hanukkah holiday, substantiates the scientific research regarding the Jewish nature of the settlement during the Second Temple period,” said Sa’ar Ganor, the Archaeologist of Ashkelon for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
"The menorah was probably etched in the cistern after the water installation was hewn in the bedrock – maybe by inhabitants of the Jewish settlement that was situated there during the Second Temple period and the time of Bar Kokhba – and the cross was etched later on during the Byzantine period, most likely in the fourth century CE."
Only two other engravings of menorahs from this region have been discovered. The three men who found the engravings will be invited to participate in the upcoming archaeological surveys in the region.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 3, 2017