Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Who owns the past?

Well, we all do.

 I have not the problem with people who go out for a profit find articles of antiquity. But really, it should be shared. How that is to be done is the question for all of us. I believe that the average person  would want it to be displayed for everybody to share in.

Jewish archaeologist gumshoes rush to dig at Cave of Skulls before looters take everything

NAHAL TZE'ELEM, Israel --- Amir Ganor is an Israeli cop, but not the kind who chases car thieves or bank robbers. Ganor is a Jewish Indiana Jones, an archaeologist gumshoe, but instead of a coiled bullwhip at his side, he shoves a pistol into his pants and manhandles jeeps through seemingly impassable goat trails.

The investigator's beat is the antiquities bazaars of the Holy Land and the remote caves of the Judean Desert, where hinky Israeli dealers, Palestinian tomb raiders and Bedouin guides conspire to traffic in the world's oldest merchandise, especially the loot unearthed from the time of Roman legions and Jewish rebels and Jesus of Nazareth.
Today the target of Ganor's investigation is a remarkable cavern located high in the pitiless mountains above the Dead Sea, a frying pan of extreme heat and dryness, rich in artifacts from the deep prehistory of humankind.
"Why did we come here? We came to stop the looters from taking it all," said Ganor, who sported blue-tinted sunglasses and seemed relaxed and loose in the broiling air. "They led us here in a way. They destroy much, but they find things, too. Clever. Always watching. They are very destructive, but sometimes they know where to look."
After busting a crew of tomb robbers armed with shovels and metal detectors digging at the site two years ago, Ganor and a team of archaeologists from Hebrew University in Jerusalem launched an "emergency excavation" last month to sift the powdery dust and bat guano before looters made off with everything.
The three-week dig, now completed, was the largest, most complex and most intensive Israeli excavation in the desert in 60 years.
Archaeologists call the site the Cave of Skulls, for the seven craniums found buried deep inside in 1953.
The cave has yielded artifacts from the Neolithic Period to the Copper Age. The cavern may also have been a redoubt for rebels with the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Romans in the years 132 to 136.

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