A 1,600-Year-Old Roman Lamp Found in the Desert

On a hiking trail with his classmates in the Aravah desert, near the ominously named Scorpions Pass, an Israeli teenager recently came across an item that archaeologists identified as an ancient oil lamp. Gavriel Fiske writes:

The trail was once an ancient trade route connected to the copper mines in the region and was patrolled and secured by Roman soldiers, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said in a press release, and noted that an identical oil lamp was found in the same location 90 years before.

The oil lamp was produced in the ancient Nabatean city of Petra, in Jordan, in the 4th or 5th century CE, and similar lamps have been found in other sites in the area, the IAA senior researcher Tali Erickson-Gini said.

A line of forts was built along the route, garrisoned by Roman soldiers who patrolled the road on horseback, securing the important shipments of copper from the mines. “It is easy to imagine the lamp lighting up the darkness in the lonely, isolated fort manned by Roman soldiers,” Erickson-Gini explained.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security