2,000 yr old papyrus document found in Israel

May 7th, 2009 - 2:43 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 7 (ANI): Israeli authorities say they have recovered a papyrus document that appears to be nearly 2,000 years old, and seems to concern the property of a widow called Miriam.

According to a report by BBC News, the document measures 15cm by 15cm (6in by 6in), and contains 15 lines of ancient Hebrew script.

It appears to be a legal instruction, transferring a widow’s property to her late husband’s brother.

It was seized from two Palestinian men in a sting operation at a Jerusalem hotel, police said. The two could face several years in jail.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Wednesday that the scroll was an “exceptional archeological document, of the like but a few exist,” reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

It said similar scrolls had been sold worldwide for sums as high as 5-10 million dollars.

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the document is written in a style of ancient Hebrew primarily associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

These are scriptures and apocalyptic treatises thought to have been collected by an ascetic Jewish community which lived in the desert near the Dead Sea, and preserved by the dry climate.

But, it remains unclear exactly where this document was obtained.

Unusually, the first line of the document indicates a precise date, the IAA said - “Year 4 (AD) to the destruction of Israel”, which could indicate either AD74, when Jerusalem’s Second Temple was destroyed, or AD139, the date of a Jewish revolt violently put down by Rome.

The document appears to concern the transfer of property belonging to a widow called Miriam.

IAA’s Amir Ganor expressed excitement about the discovery, suggesting that the “very important” document could “shed light on how the people of the period managed their affairs and supplement our knowledge about their way of life”. (ANI)

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