Discovery of Menorah and Cross Engravings

During the Hanukkah holidays a group of Israel Caving Club Members on a hike in the Judean lowlands, made a unique and fascinating discovery when exploring hidden caves in the area. They came across ancient engravings of a seven-branched Menorah and a Cross, as well as other drawings that were carved into a cave wall. 

Very excited at their discovery they immediately left the cave and reported their find to the Israel Antiquities Authority. The cave where the discovery was made is an ancient water cistern. During further investigations the Israel Antiquities Authority has explained that these engravings provide further evidence of the Jewish presence in the land of Israel during the Second Temple era.



 menorah engraving          engraving of a cross

Photo Credit: Saʽar Ganor, Israel Antiquities Authority


“There are also buildings and hiding refuges from the time of the Bar Kokhba uprising (2nd century CE) at the site that date to the Byzantine period,” It is very unusual to find a wall engraving of a menorah, and this exciting discovery, which was symbolically revealed during the Hanukkah holiday, substantiates the scientific research regarding the Jewish nature of the settlement during the Second Temple period.”

The engraving of the Menorah, which is a distinctly Jewish symbol, has a base with three feet and appears to portray the menorah that stood in the Temple during the Second Temple period. Also found next to the cistern are many niches that in ancient times were used to raise doves which during the Second Temple period were used as part of sacrificial rites in the Temple. Up to now only two other engravings of Menorah’s have been found in the Judean lowlands.



dove raising niches

Photo Credit: Saʽar Ganor, Israel Antiquities Authority


The hikers who made the discovery will receive a good citizenship certificate and will be invited to participate in the coming archaeological surveys that the Israel Antiquities Authority will conduct in the area.





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