4,500-year-old copper dagger, ancient artifacts, discovered at burial cave in northern Israel

A man walking down a dirt road in a village in northern Israel has discovered an ancient copper dagger blade.

Electrician Ahmed Nassar Yassin was on his way to fix a neighbor’s electricity in the village of Araba in the Galilee when he accidentally found an ancient burial cave. “As he leaned against the mountain ridge, the rock crumbled, exposing to his eyes ancient-looking artifacts,” explained the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a statement.

Yassin carefully collected the items and contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority, who then visited his home and gratefully received the artifacts. Nir Distelfeld of the Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit estimates that the items are from the Intermediate Bronze Age about 4,500 years ago. “The artifacts appear to have been exposed as a result of prior damage caused to an ancient burial cave by a mechanical tool,” he said, in a statement.

THE BIBLICAL TOWN OF EMMAUS, WHICH IS LINKED TO JESUS’ RESURRECTION AND THE ARK OF THE COVENANT, MAY HAVE BEEN FOUND

The copper dagger blade was once attached with nails to a wooden handle. “This is a weapon typical of the period, and most often it was common practice to place the weapons into its dead owner's grave,” said Distelfeld.

The items are from the Bronze Age about 4,500 years ago. (Nir Distelfeld,<br>
Israel Antiquities Authority)

The items are from the Bronze Age about 4,500 years ago. (Nir Distelfeld,<br> Israel Antiquities Authority)

Ancient containers, storage jars and pouring vessels were also found.

Officials also praised Yassin for his handling of the discovery. “Ahmed showed good citizenship from the start by delivering the findings to the Antiquities Authority,” said Distelfeld. “He told me there were some who called him a dupe and a traitor in that he handed the artifacts over to the state, but he chose to act as a law-abiding citizen.”

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Israel continues to reveal new aspects of its rich history. In a separate project, for example, archaeologists may have discovered the Biblical town of Emmaus, which is linked to Jesus’ resurrection and the Ark of the Covenant.

Ahmed Nassar Yassin and the artifacts. (Nir Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Ahmed Nassar Yassin and the artifacts. (Nir Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Elsewhere, the Church of the Apostles, which is said to have been built over the house of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew, has been discovered near Israel’s Sea of Galilee, according to a team of American and Israeli archaeologists.

The remains of one of the world's oldest known mosques have also been located in Israel’s Negev desert.

REMAINS OF ONE THE WORLD'S OLDEST KNOWN MOSQUES DISCOVERED IN ISRAEL’S NEGEV DESERT

The area where the artifacts were discovered inside an ancient burial cave. <br>
(Nir Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority)

The area where the artifacts were discovered inside an ancient burial cave. <br> (Nir Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Archaeologists also recently discovered a huge Neolithic settlement near Jerusalem, which they say is one of the largest ever found.

In another project, archaeologists in Southern Israel have found an ancient biblical city from the time of King David.

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A stunning 1,600-year-old biblical mosaic has also been uncovered at the site of a fifth-century synagogue in northern Israel. The mosaic, which depicts a scene from the book of Exodus, was found at the synagogue site in Huqoq.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers