Israel’s Antiquities Authority says Facebook users have solved the mystery of a gilded object thought to be an ancient Jewish relic.
Amir Ganor, the authority’s director of theft prevention, says police alerted his office six months ago to a gold sceptre with seven grooves found in a Jerusalem cemetery.
It was discovered by a groundskeeper, who initially called the police, fearing it was an explosive device.
Once the 8kg, solid metal object was given the all-clear, it was handed to the Antiquities Authority, which x-rayed the sceptre and analysed its materials. Ganor said he mused whether it was used in the biblical Jewish temples.
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Remains have previously been found in the cemetery dating back to the Roman, Byzantine and Crusader periods. But experts did not recognise this item.
Six months on, and with no further ideas, the authority posted a picture on Facebook asking for help. Suggestions were plentiful, with commenters wondering if the gold-plated object could be a cattle insemination instrument, a tool for rolling dough, a piece of industrial machinery, a massage object, or some kind of temple relic.
But within hours, one of over 300 responders identified the object as a Weber Isis Beamer, a device that claims to create “a protective field” against radiation and is, according to the authority’s Facebook update, “intended for the use of naturopaths and people dealing with energy healing”.
The beamer is named after Isis, the Egyptian goddess of medicine, magic and nature. It can be purchased from German firm Weber Bio from 67 euros (£50/US$74) for a pendant to over 1,000 euros for the largest version, which, the seller claims, “may harmonise even extremely strong geopathic and electromagnetic radiation fields”.
“The wisdom of the masses has done its part,” the authority said on Tuesday. It said an Italian man named Micah Barak was the first to crack the mystery, and has invited him to visit Jerusalem to see it in person.
The question of why the device was buried in the cemetery remains unsolved, however, with the authority appealing to those involved to “contact us and inform us why it was buried in an ancient structure and to whom of the dead they wished to give positive energy”.
Associated Press contributed to this report.