A stash of stolen treasure has been recovered by the police – almost 2,000 years after it was taken.

The ‘remarkably well preserved’ artefacts were found last week after officers stopped a suspicious vehicle in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighbourhood. 

They found hundreds of Roman coins and an ornamental pair of bronze, 2,000-year old bronze incense burners. Also, a bronze jug to serve wine.

Archaeologists believe the treasures were probably stolen during the Bar Kokhba revolt – a Jewish rebellion against Roman rule in the second century AD.

Now, the criminal investigation into the trio of suspects involved in the accident is underway. They are suspected to have looted artifacts belonging to a Bar Kokhba rebel hideout.

A stash of stolen treasure has been recovered by the police in Jerusalem – almost 2,000 years after it was taken. It included hundreds of Roman coins (pictured)

A stash of stolen treasure has been recovered by the police in Jerusalem – almost 2,000 years after it was taken. This included hundreds of Roman coin (photo).

According to some, the treasures may have been brought to Jerusalem by an attempt to make a sale to an antiquities merchant.

According to Israel Antiquities Authority, the trio only became upset after trying to drive up the wrong way on a one-way road.

The authority suspects that the artefacts had been taken from a hideout near the Tarqumiya border crossing in the southern West Bank. 

Recent illegal excavations were carried out by criminals before they fled.  

Amir Ganor (director of IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit) said, ‘We recently identified unauthorized archaeological excavations at an site from the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

“An operation was started to capture suspects. But unfortunately, the robbers were able to flee.

The 'remarkably well-preserved' artefacts were found last week after officers stopped a suspicious vehicle in Jerusalem's Musrara neighbourhood. Above: A bronze wine jug was also recovered

After officers pulled over a suspect vehicle in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood, they discovered the’remarkably preserved’ artifacts. Above: Another bronze wine glass was found

Inside the car, police also found an ornate pair of bronze incense burners - known as censers

Police also discovered a pair of elaborate bronze incense burners inside the vehicle, which are known as censers

“When they fled however, they left behind antiquities that were similar to the ones now in their possession.

Was it the Bar Kokhba rebellion? 

In what was at the time Roman Judea, between 132 & 136AD, occurred the Bar Kokhba Rebellion. 

It occurred many years after rising tensions following the failure of the first revolt in 66−73AD.

This was one of the most significant Jewish rebellions against foreign rulers during the time.

The rebels being well-prepared for battle, the Romans had to call in legions of soldiers from other areas of the empire to end the rebellion. 

Dio Cassius, a third-century historian, claimed that around 1000 Jewish settlements were destroyed by the rebellion’s end and that hundreds of thousands had been killed.   

“We believe the recent finds in Jerusalem came from this location.” 

Meanwhile, the wine vessel features a representation of a Roman banquet scene with a reclining character holding a glass.

Another treasure included an elegant stone tripod bowl, and Roman clay lamps.

Bronze artifacts are a sign that loot was committed by the Bar Kokhba rebels. They are rare in Israel. 

The Times of Israel reports that the authority thinks that the Jewish rebels took the Romans’ items and they wouldn’t have used them.

They were decorated with pagan imagery, so their use would be against the Jewish prohibition of idolatry. 

The rebels also stated that Jews had stopped practicing sacrifice and incense-burning by then.   

Experts think the bronze censers, which were likely to have come from an ancient temple or wealthy Roman home, were meant for ritual incense burning.

Eli Eskozido was the director of IAA. He stated that after the suspects were dealt with the court would ask for the confiscation of treasures to be preserved in the future.

He stated that he was working tirelessly to stop illicit excavations at antiquities locations around the country.

“These treasures are the nation’s historical heritage, but they’re a mere commodity that’s sold by robbers to satisfy their greed.”

The wine vessel, meanwhile, carries a depiction of a Roman banqueting scene, with a reclining figure holding a jug

In the background, the wine vessel features a Roman scene with a figure reclining and holding a glass.

Other treasures included an ornate stone tripod bowl and Roman clay lamps. Above: Officials from the Israel Antiquities Authority examine the artefacts

The treasures also included a Roman clay lamp and a tripod-shaped stone bowl. Above: The Israel Antiquities Authority inspects the artifacts

“It’s vital to stop any illegal dealing in antiquities and recover valuable finds to give them back to the people.

“When the legal proceedings against suspects have been completed, we will request the court to confiscate any finds that are not in our possession and give them to us to conserve and research further.”

He also thanked the Lev HaBira officers for their vigilance in rumbling the criminals.