4000-year-old dolmen with engravings found

A mysterious stone chamber was discovered near Kibbutz Shamir in upper Galilee, Israel. The structure contains numerous engravings which date back 4000 years.

Aerial picture of the tomb (by Gonen Sharon)

The structure is said to be one of more than 400 huge stone structures dating to the Bronze Age located in the tomb field around Kibbutz Shamir. The tomb has a shape of a dolmen – a large stone covering others that form the walls. According to the archaeologists, this is the first art ever documented in a dolmen in the Near East. The dolmen was enclosed within an enormous stone heap, about 18 metres in diameter, and its stones are estimated to weigh a minimum of 400 tons.

View from inside the tomb (by Shmuel Magal)

The engravings depict a straight line going to the centre of an arc. About fifteen such engravings were documented on the ceiling of the dolmen, spread out in a kind of arc along the ceiling. No parallels exist for these shapes in the engraved rock drawings of the Near East, and their significance remains a mystery.

Details of the engravings (by Gonen Sharon)

(after Jewish Press, Gonen Sharon, Tel Hai Collage, Shmuel Magal, Israel Antiquities Authority & The Jerusalem Post)

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