During a search of a smugglers’ home in Jerusalem, Israeli police found ancient spell bowls and hundreds of other ancient objects.
Hundreds of artifacts, including worked ivory and three “spell bowls” adorned with ancient magic spells, have been discovered by police in Jerusalem. However, it is not clear if all the artifacts are genuine.
According to a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), police discovered a gang of smugglers who traded artifacts that were stolen from sites in the Middle East or from museums. The authorities organized a search. It turned out that many of the artifacts, including the incantation bowls, date back to between the 4th and 8th centuries AD. But the problem is that some bowls are similar to those made in modern-day Iraq.
On the bowls, which are most likely real ancient artifacts, incantations are written in Hebrew and Babylonian-Aramaic. They were used to fight curses, scare away demons, and protect against disease. Usually these items were placed in the basement of the house.
On one of the bowls found, spells were inscribed to exorcise evil spirits. According to Heritage Daily, the owner’s intention was not just to get a divorce, but to expel destructive demons from his home.
The inscription on another object mentions the archangels Michael and Raphael with a quote from the 121st psalm: “The Lord will keep you from all evil.” On the third bowl, belonging to a certain Ahai Bar Marganit, a female demon is depicted.
During the raid, the police also found ivory objects decorated with Phoenician-style ornaments. It is believed that they were illegally dug up in one of the biblical burial mounds in Samaria.