Ancient burial tomb dating back to the era of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II has been unearthed
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Featured Image Credit: Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority/Newsflash
An ancient burial tomb has been unearthed by a digger at a building site.
The tomb, dating back to the era of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, was discovered by a mechanical digger during construction work which was taking place at the Palmahim Beach National Park south of Tel Aviv, Israel.
After investigation, it was discovered that the intact burial - located eight feet below ground - had been unsealed for the first time in over three millennia.
Inside, inspectors from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) found numerous pottery vessels and multiple skeletal remains.
The experts believe the vessels originated in coastal areas that are now part of Lebanon, Syria, and Cyprus. It's thought they were buried along with the dead to serve them in the afterlife.
The IAA said: "An exceptional and amazing discovery from the time of Rameses II, the Pharaoh associated with the Biblical Exodus from Egypt, was revealed last Wednesday when a mechanical digger penetrated the roof of a cave in the Palmahim Beach National Park, in the course of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority development works.
"Dror Sitron, Israel Antiquities Authority inspector, was the first to discover the cave.
"The Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists mobilized to the site, descended a ladder into the astonishing space that appeared to have frozen in time.
"The hewn cave was square in form with a central supporting pillar."
The IAA continued: "Several dozens of intact pottery and bronze artefacts were lain out in the cave, exactly as they were arranged in the burial ceremony, about 3,300 years ago."
The discovery has been described as 'once in a lifetime', with Dr Eli Yannai, Israel Antiquities Authority Bronze Age expert, adding: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery! It is extremely rare to come across an Indiana Jones film set - a cave floor laid out with vessels untouched for 3,300 years, since the Late Bronze Age, about the time of the powerful King Rameses II.
"The fact that the cave was sealed, and not looted in later periods, will allow us the employ the modern scientific methods available today, to retrieve much information from the artefacts and from the residues extant on the vessels, for example, organic remains that are not visible to the naked eye.
"The cave may furnish a complete picture of the Late Bronze Age funerary customs. The cave predominantly contains tens of pottery vessels of different forms and sizes, including deep and shallow bowls, some red-painted, footed chalices, cooking pots, storage jars and lamps for lighting."
Unfortunately, after the discovery, a number of vessels were stolen from the cave, an incident which is now under investigation.
Eli Eskosido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Raya Shurky, the Director of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, said: "Within a few days, we will formulate a plan to carry out the research and the protection of this unique site, which is a feast for the archaeological world and for the ancient history of the land of Israel."