Heavy Rains Reveal Limestone Funerary Busts Near Beth Shean, Israel

Bible and archaeology news
Samuel DeWitt Pfister • 01/23/2019

Winter rains helped expose these two busts at Beth Shean. Photo: Eitan Klein, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Archaeologists are not always the only ones to unearth the past; mother nature has occasionally been known to excavate ancient artifacts and reveal hidden ruins. Erosion and wind storms can expose antiquities and reveal entire cities once concealed beneath the ground. You may recall from this past summer when a heatwave struck the UK, showing “shadows” of buried architecture in the browning grasses. In Israel, however, it was the heavy winter rains that recently led to the discovery of a pair of rare specimens.

Following a particularly torrential rain this past December, a local resident was taking a stroll around the northern cemetery of the old city of Beth Shean in Israel’s Northern District. Looking down, the hiker noticed the top of a curious marble-white head peeking through the soil. Upon realizing her chance discovery, the woman and her husband immediately called the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Theft Prevention Unit, which then dispatched archaeologists to the site.