Photo © Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Yoram Lehmann
Objects from the Cave of the Treasure
Cave of the Treasure, Nahal Mishmar, Judean Desert
Chalcolithic period, 4500-3500 BCE
Israel Antiquities Authority
An astonishing hoard of 429 ritual objects was discovered in 1961 in a remote cave above Nahal Mishmar in the Judean Desert. The objects were found wrapped in a woven mat, concealed behind a large stone. They included hundreds of mace heads, dozens of scepters, and several enigmatic objects, such as the "crowns." Most of the objects were made of copper, with a few made of ivory or stone.
It is possible that this spectacular treasure belonged to the sanctuary at En Gedi, some 12 km away. It seems that some approaching danger led the priests to stow away the precious objects in the hope of better days to come.

Treasures of the Holy Land, Ancient Art from the Israel Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir