Man Fearing The End Of The World Returns 2,000 Year Old Roman Artefact
With the potential of the apocalypse on his mind, an anonymous man has returned an ancient Roman ballista stone - similar to a cannonball that goes in a gigantic crossbow - to the Jerusalem Walls National Park in the City of David.
He did this 15 years after he stole the 2,000 year old stone as he felt 'the time has come to clear my conscience; it feels that the end of the world is near'.
Well, it's perhaps not that bad, but it's a nice gesture of repentance, either way.
This discovery was unearthed - if you'll forgive that shamelessly awful pun - by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) after a man called Moshe Manies took it upon himself to act as a conduit between the unnamed man and the IAA.
On Facebook, Manies said that the theft of the ancient ballista stone "involved two 'shababniks' (rebellious youths), who, 15 years earlier, toured at the City of David site and came across a display of ballista stones which were catapulted at fortifications,"
He explained: "One of the boys took one of the stones home. Meanwhile, he married and raised a family, and told me that for the past 15 years the stone is weighing heavily on his heart.
"And now, when he came across it while cleaning for Passover, together with the apocalyptic feeling the Coronavirus generated, he felt the time was ripe to clear his conscience, and he asked me to help him return it to the Israel Antiquities Authority."
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So, whilst it is nice that the stone has been returned, it is illegal to take them in the first place. Eventually, someone from the IAA got in touch to come get the historically important circular rock.
That representative, Uzi Rotstein, said: "Disconnecting an artefact from its archaeological framework by its removal negatively impacts the research and the ability to piece together its historical puzzle.
"We commend the return of the artefact and appeal to anyone who has taken an archaeological artefact, to take a weight off their heart and return it to the State Treasury.
"These artefacts, which are thousands of years old, are our national treasure. They tell the story of The Land and of who resided here before us, and should be documented and displayed."
So, what exactly is a ballista?
The IAA's Jerusalem Region Archaeologist, Dr. Yuval Baruch, said: "Ballistae were ancient weapons which were used to hurl stones like the one returned at the top of the fortress walls in order to distance the protectors of the city who stood at the top.
"The ballista stones which were uncovered at the City of David are most likely connected to the harsh battles between the besieged residents of Jerusalem and the soldiers of the Roman Legion, from around 70 CE - the year of the destruction of Jerusalem.
"Additional stones of this type have been uncovered in Jerusalem, at, among other places, the area of the Russian Compound near the estimated path of the Third Wall, which was the external wall of Jerusalem during the time of the Second Temple.
"In the excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority there, a battlefield was uncovered, with tens of ballista stones scattered on the ground."
Featured Image Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority