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October 2, 2015 10:50 am

Bar Kokhba-Era Antiquities Site Razed by Palestinian Vandals

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The Israeli antiquities site razed by Palestinian vandals. Photo: Kfar Etzion Field School.

The Israeli antiquities site razed by Palestinian vandals. Photo: Kfar Etzion Field School.

JNS.org – An Israeli antiquities site that served as an encampment for Jewish leader Shimon Bar Kokhba during his revolt against the Romans from 132 to 136 C.E. has been destroyed by Palestinian vandals, Israel Hayom reported.

Discoveries made at the Kiryat Araba site, located in Judea and Samaria, have been a vital source of information about the period of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and its destruction is a blow to research efforts.

In 1968, a winding, branching cave was discovered at the site, the first of the system of caves where Bar Kokhba hid to be discovered. A few years later, the Kfar Etzion Field School began conducting excavations at the site under the guidance of Professor Yoram Tsafrir, which turned up exciting finds and shed light on the final days of the revolt.

The cave was originally dug beneath the ancient community of Kiryat Araba, which is mentioned in scrolls found at Nahal Hever in the Judean Desert. The Nahal Hever scrolls also include military correspondence between Bar Kokhba and his fighters.

Field school director Yaron Rosenthal said Thursday that “while the cultured world is appalled at the destruction of ancient cities in Iraq and Syria by [the Islamic State terror group], we are witnessing broad-scale destruction of antiquities in our country.”

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