Tomb looters captured red-handed in Galilee

Three suspects were caught in the act by The Israel Antiquities Authority while robbing graves, disturbing interred remains near Roman Era site in Galilee.

Looters caught red-handed (by Nis Distelfeld)

The three unnamed suspected thieves, all from the village of Tur’an in the lower Galilee, were caught in the act at the ancient site of village of Mishkena by operatives with the IAA’s antiquities theft prevention unit, but had already caused some damage do archaeological matter. The village of Mishkena is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud as a Jewish village located half way between Sepphoris and Tiberias. The illegal excavations were conducted within a tomb and caused serious damage to the archaeological layers and the human remains dating to the Roman period.

Tools left at the site (by Nis Distelfeld)

The cave where the illegal activities took place is associated with Horbat Mishkena, a Jewish village during the Roman period known to archaeologists from surveys and rabbinic literature. The site contains hollowed out burial caves, which are usually sealed with a large, heavy stone, and sometimes contain items used in burial ceremonies.

All three suspects were brought to the local police station, interrogated and released on bail. If convicted, they could face a five year prison sentence for illegal excavation and destruction of antiquities.

(after Nis Distelfeld, Israel Antiquities Authority & The Times of Israel)

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