Israel Antiquities Authority Preventing Robbery Unit.
(photo credit: "VEGAN ACTIVE FACEBOOK PAGE")
Authorities caught two antiquities thieves red-handed as they were allegedly smashing parts of a ancient biblical site in search of treasures.
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) inspectors and the volunteers of the Border Guard’s Lower Galilee unit announced Tuesday that they had arrested two thieves over the weekend. The thieves used a bulldozer to destroy part of the Horvat Devorah antiquities sites, which researchers have identified with the biblical city Dovrat.
According to the Antiquities Authority, during the thieves’ search, they uncovered and shattered underground cavities and uprooted masonry stones that were part of the remains of a 2,000-year-old
A few days before the incident, the IAA inspectors noticed damage that had been done to the site and since then it had been under constant surveillance. It is suspected that the same two people had caused the initial damage and returned on the weekend to continue their hunt for antiquities.
A fragment of basalt millstones that were used to grind flour and potsherds from the Hellenistic period were found in the debris of land the suspects had destroyed.
The IAA inspectors and Border Police volunteers caught the suspects in the act and took them to the Tiberias police station. The suspects are two brothers in their thirties from the nearby Arab village of Daburiya.
On Monday afternoon, they were brought before the Tiberias Magistrate’s Court and were released on bail.
According to Nir Distelfeld, the supervisor of the IAA’s anti-robbery unit in the northern region, “illegal and brutal excavations at the archaeological sites are causing terrible destruction to heritage sites, and history that belongs to all of us has been damaged forever. This excavation site, which is near the village of Daburiya from where the robbers came, gets targeted time after time with attempts at illegal digging in searches for antiquities.”
“The pursuit of money takes the sense out of people,” he added. “The scenes at the site are shocking and cause one to shudder, and I am happy they were stopped and graver damage was prevented. It is important to know that digging at an antiquities site is a criminal offense, and that the maximum penalty according to the law is up to five years in prison.”
The site has been identified by researchers as the location where an ancient Jewish village once stood in the Tzipori district during the Roman period, the Antiquities Authority said. In the past, archaeologists have discovered foundations of buildings, water cisterns and ancient tombs at the site.