Sites & cities that bear the name of Nahal Mishmar

Nahal Mishmar

Today in : Israel
First trace of activity : ca. 3,500 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 2nd century C.E
Recorded names : נחל משמר, Wadi Mahras, مَحْرَس, Cave of the Treasure, Nachal Mischmar, Scouts' Cave

Description : Nahal Mishmar (Hebrew:נחל משמר) or Wadi Mahras (Arabic:مَحْرَس) is a small seasonal stream in the Judean Desert in Israel. A hoard of rare Chalcolithic artifacts was discovered in a cave near the stream bed which was dubbed the "Cave of the Treasure." During an expedition of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1960, three papyri were found in Cave No. 1 , one in Hebrew / Aramaic, one in Greek, and a third written in both Aramaic and Greek. Comparisons of the scriptures suggest dating to the time of the Bar Kochba uprising . As with the documents found in the Nachal Ze'elim , these are likely to be treaty texts or census lists. The cave has been referred to as the Scouts' Cave . In 1961, Israeli archaeologist Pessah Bar-Adon discovered a hoard of Chalcolithic artifacts in a cave on the northern side of Nahal Mishmar, known since as the Cave of the Treasure. The hoard consisted of 442 decorated objects made of copper and bronze (429 of them), ivory and stone, including 240 mace heads, about 100 scepters, 5 crowns, powder horns, tools and weapons. Archaeologist David Ussishkin has suggested the hoard was the cultic furniture of the abandoned Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi. Prominent finds from the hoard are currently on display in the archaeology wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Items in the hoard belong to the Ghassulian culture and the Nahal Mishmar hoard is the only hoard of this culture. It is probable that the copper used for producing them was mined in Wadi Feynan. Due to the dry climate numerous textile and plaited remains were found at the site. The remains of over 20 individuals were found in the caves. They were members of a sedentary Chalcolithic population who became refugees and their lives ended under tragic circumstances which is indicated by the fact they had numerous injuries and that the wrappings were stained with blood. Dating Many of these copper objects were made using the lost-wax process, one of the earliest known uses of this complex technique. Carbon-14 dating of the reed mat which was used to wrap the objects points that it was used circa 3500 B.C.E. During this period the use of copper became widespread throughout the Levant which also led to social changes in the region.

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