A 2,000-year-old antiquities city near Afula were damaged by two antique robbers with a backhoe loader, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.
The excavation site of Horvat Devora, which has been identified as the biblical city of Dovrat and the Roman-era Jewish town of Davrita, was pillaged last week by looters.
Two Arab brothers in their 30s from the nearby town of Daburiyya are charged with destroying underground tunnels and displacing large ancient building blocks, including pieces of Hellenistic Period basalt grindstones, which were once used to grind flour.
Dovrat was a significant city during its day and a major hub for Jewish activity, with the site featuring the infrastructure of an ancient settlement, including water pits and graves.
The Nature and Parks Authority suspected looters when it detected damage to the site days prior to the discovery, putting Horvat Devora under surveillance.
Nir Distfeld, an IAA northern sector inspector, was quoted in Ynet as saying the “brutal, illegal excavations cause horrible damage to archaeological sites, and irreversibly hurt the historical research that concerns everyone’s history.” The site has apparently suffered repeated robbery attempts from Arabs from the same town.
“The damage is heartbreaking. Luckily, they were arrested before a greater loss was caused,” Distfeld was quoted as saying. “It is important to note that excavating an archaeological site is a felony punishable by up to five years incarceration.”