Werner Braun

The Cave of the Treasure. Shortly after the moment of discovery, the most spectacular hoard of early metal artifacts ever found in the Levant only begins to reveal its elegance, inventiveness and fine craftsmanship. Discovered in 1961 by Pessah Bar-Adon, right, of the Israel Department of Antiquities, the objects lay wrapped in a straw mat and hidden in a niche of a cave above the Nahal Mishmar. Dated to ahout 3500 B.C.E., the horde comprised 429 copper artifacts containing a high percentage of arsenic alloy, including about 240 objects interpreted as mace heads, about 80 scepters and ten crowns decorated with numerous birds and human faces. The finds are considered cult or prestige objects, but where they were made, exactly how and by whom they were used and why they were hidden remain mysteries.