2 Israeli Soldiers Stumble Upon 1,500-Year-Old Oil Lamp In Southern Gaza

Two Israeli reserve soldiers unexpectedly stumbled upon a small, well-preserved Byzantine oil lamp at an army staging area in southern Israel near the Gaza border, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.

2 Israeli Soldiers Stumble Upon 1,500-Year-Old Oil Lamp In Southern Gaza

Two Israeli reserve soldiers unexpectedly stumbled upon a small, well-preserved Byzantine oil lamp at an army staging area in southern Israel near the Gaza border, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.

The find, by Nathaniel Melchior and Alon Segev, part of the 404th Battalion within the 282nd Fire Brigade, sparked a chain of events that led to the 1,500 year-old candle's safe handover to the Antiquities Authority.

"During one of our wanderings in the field, I came across pottery lying upside down, and its round shape attracted me," Melchior said. "It was covered in mud, I cleaned it and after I realised what it was about, I called the Antiquities Authority."

Simultaneously, Segev shared an image of the discovery on a Facebook group. The photo drew a lot of attention and recommendations to contact the Antiquities Authority.

Antiquities Authority archaeologist Sarah Tal identified the artifact as a "sandal candle" from the Byzantine period. Tal personally retrieved the lamp and presented the soldiers with a certificate of appreciation.

"The war often exposes us to extraordinary situations, even on the archaeological front. The land of Israel, particularly this surrounding region, holds a rich history and ancient treasures," said Eli Eskosido, director of the Antiquities Authority.

"In the event of finding an ancient relic, it is crucial to notify the inspectors so that researchers can gather as much information as possible about the site and its historical significance," he emphasised.