To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Archaeologists uncover ancient 'portal to the underworld' used to summon the dead

Archaeologists uncover ancient 'portal to the underworld' used to summon the dead

The team made some grisly discoveries

Archaeologists in Israel have found a cave which may have been used in ancient spiritual practices.

The Te'omim cave is located southwest of Jerusalem, and has been the subject of an archeological dig.

The investigation has opened up some rather unnerving theories about what the cave might previously have been used for.

Archaeologists at the site.
B. Zissu under the Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project

The region is absolutely stuffed with history. From the British Mandate for Palestine, the Ottoman Empire, the Abbasid and Umayyad Caliphates, the Romans, and going back even further into the lands and peoples in the Old Testament, including the origins of the Jewish people.

But it is the Romans, or least the people who lived there during the Roman period, that this particular archeological dig was interested in.

It turns out that people living during the Roman occupation may have been getting up to pretty shady things in this cave. Archeologists have found some pretty interesting, and macabre, items in the cave.

Among them are axes, oil lamps, as well as three human skulls.

Some of the items found in the cave.
B. Langford under the Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project

Archeologists believe that these items were arranged in particular ways to form part of some sinister rituals with contacting and even summoning the dead.

Anyone who has ever played Warhammer or DnD will be familiar with the term 'necromancy'. This is a kind of ritual which is concerned with raising or contacting the dead.

A study by archeologists, Eitan Klein from Israel Antiquities Authority and Boaz Zissu from Bar-Ilan University, suggests that the cave may have been used for these sorts of rituals.

Caves were often seen as gateways to the land of the dead, so if you're going to be doing magic concerned with summoning the dead, that seems like the sort of place you can have the best chance of success.

In their paper, they say: "The Te’omim Cave in the Jerusalem hills has all the cultic and physical elements necessary to serve as a possible portal to the underworld.

One of the human skulls found in the cave.
B. Zissu under the Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project

"The findings and their specific archaeological contexts provide a better understanding of divination rites that were probably held in the cave."

The cave has a particularly deep shaft at one end, and around 120 lamps were also found sequestered in particularly inaccessible parts of the cave.

The archeologists admit that there is little documentation from the period detailing the kinds of practices they suspect happened in the cave. However, they reason that this may be because this was not the sort of thing that you wanted people to know about.

To be fair, if I was trying to summon the dead in a cave I'd probably want to keep it hushed up as well.

Featured Image Credit: B. Zissu under the Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project

Topics: News, World News, Weird