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Old or not? Israeli antiquities experts stumped by mystery object

Social media users in Israel solved a mystery long baffling the country's Antiquities Authority in a few hours
Mysterious unidentified 17.5 pound gold-plated artifact discovered at Jerusalem synagogue. December 22, 2015. ( Israel Antiquities Authority / Yuli Schwartz)

When a mysterious 17.5 pound gold-plated artefact showed up in an Israeli cemetery, antiquities experts didn’t know what to think. Some archaeologist thought that the gold and grooved object, with seeming handles on both ends, must be ancient treasure left over by one of Israel’s ancient inhabitants - over the centuries many civilisations have left their mark on the land near Jerusalem with archaeological digs clearly visible throughout much of the city.

Weber ISIS-Beamer 1:2 Brass (http://weberbio.de)

Other researchers, however, rejected this theory believing the object to be modern, but were still baffled as to what the object could be.

After failing to come to any firm conclusions, the archaeologists opened the debate up to the public, asking Haaretz readers to air their views on the mystery.

Few believed that the truth could be unearthed so quickly, but within hours of the social media request, readers appear to have hit the nail on the head, pointing out that the mysterious object bore a striking resemblance to a Weber Isis Beamer harmoniser, a device sold online for up to $350.

The device claims that it can optimise personal energy fields and cleanse the air of any harmful side-effects from electrical waves produced by appliances such as WiFi.

"Since its discovery, Antiquities Authority officials have been trying to understand what this object is. It was sent to a lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and was discovered to be plated in nickel gold, but made from a single metal," Amir Ganor, head of the authority's anti-theft unit told Haaretz.

"At first we thought it was a military object, but then began to dream. I have been in this business for a long time and cannot recall such a mystery," Ganor said.