Sunday, 15 January 2012

Coin Looting in the Judean Desert

Israel National News reports (1/15/2012,Antiquities Theft in Judean Desert Next to Tekoa) an incident of looting in the Judean desert. This was reported by guides of the Kefar Etzion Field School based in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in the Judean Hills some 20 km. south of Jerusalem. They report that while on a field trip in the region, on Sunday, they "found minorities engaging in antiquities theft". Objects were being looted from:
the ancient community of Hurbath Umm Al-Amad between the Judean Jewish community of Tekoa and the Dead Sea. Among the antiquities being removed are coins from the Bar Cochba period. The guides said the robbers dug meters into the ground at the si[t]e, until they reached the huge water holes used by the ancient members of the community. The field school said [...] the robbers were sophisticated and would be hard to find.
One approach is of course to station soldiers and police on every ancient site in the Judean desert, another of course is to reduce the market for such items by making sellers reveal the origins and acquisition history of the material offered. V-Coins for example over in the USA has quite a few Bar Cochba war period coins on sale by various V-coins dealers, not a single one of which has any associated information which shows that it did not come from looting of this kind.

ZZ Antiquities in Jerusalem has bucket loads of them (" All of our antiquities and items of ancient art come with Export Approval legal documentation from the Israel Antiquities Authority"). So where in the "Holy land" do these coins actually come from?

hat-tip to MSN
Map showing area concerned

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