Experts Stumped by Artifact Get Answer From Facebook
The 'Isis beamer' isn't as scary as it sounds
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2015 3:09 AM CST
Updated Dec 23, 2015 4:00 AM CST
The object's makers claim it emits a form of wave energy that protects against radiation.   (Israel Antiquities Authority)
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(Newser) – A mysterious gold-plated artifact that baffled the Israel Antiquities Authority for months was identified within hours after the experts turned to the public with a Facebook post. After suggestions that it was a rolling pin or a cattle insemination device, Italian man Micah Barak correctly identified the object found in an old building at a Jerusalem cemetery as something called an "Isis beamer," NBC News reports. The solid metal object—named for the Egyptian goddess, not the extremist group—is a modern device made in Germany that "is intended for the use of naturopaths and people dealing with energy healing," the antiquities authority says. In other words, it's New Age, not Bronze Age.

The cemetery is an important archaeological site, and experts say that while they suspected that the device might be of modern origin, they consulted religious experts, a jeweler, and had a lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science analyze it after finding it, just in case it was an ancient temple treasure that had been lost for thousands of years. "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," the head of the authority's anti-theft unit tells Haaretz. The antiquities authority has invited Barak to visit Israel, and it says it still wants to find out how the object came to be buried in an ancient structure, NBC reports. (Last month, the authority solved what it calls "one of the great archaeological riddles in the history of Jerusalem.")