Stumped archeologists ask Facebook for help to identify a mysterious object

Facebook delivered. But the solving of one mystery, has uncovered another.

Screenshot
Researchers with Israel’s Antiquities Authority posted these images on Facebook of an object discovered at an archaeological site in Jerusalem, in the hopes that somebody would be able to identify it.

After six months of trying – and failing – to determine the identity of an object that resembles a gilded rolling pin, experts at the Israel Antiquities Authority decided on Tuesday morning to hand the task over to “the wisdom of the masses” on Facebook.

Within hours and after hundreds of contributions, “the intelligence of the masses has done its work,” the authority reported on Facebook. “It has solved the puzzle of the gold-covered object.”

And no, it isn’t a foot massager, a currency maker, a huge honey dipper, or a meat tenderizer, as some Facebook users have guessed.

The object, identified by an Italian man named Micah Barak, is an energy equalizer meant to be used by naturopaths and healers. It’s called an “Isis Beamer,” according to a German company that sells it, named after the Egyptian goddess of medicine, magic, and nature, and it “can create a protective field of the type generated by spirit energies or meditation.”

A maintenance worker first found the 19-pound mysterious object in a building of an unidentified Jerusalem cemetery that serves as an important archaeological site. The site has turned up remains from Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader periods, NBC News reports.

The maintenance worker worried that he might have stumbled on an explosive, though, so he called in a bomb squad that detonated a controlled explosion that, somehow, didn’t damage the energy beamer.

Once it was deemed safe, police gave the object to the authority's robbery prevention unit.

According to NBC, the head of the unit, Amir Ganor, joked that when he saw it, he thought "that aliens landed from outer space and brought the object."

For the past six months, Mr. Ganor and his team have been trying to figure out what it is. They learned from a jeweler that the object is coated in 24-carat gold, and from an X-ray, that it is solid metal. Yet, the unit still could not determine the true identity of the rolling pin until today.

In its morning Facebook plea for help, the group wrote that the strange object has “found its way to our doorstep, except, we are not familiar with such a thing. Is it ancient or modern?”

But now that the Beamer mystery has been solved, a new one has emerged: Why was the healing pin buried in the cemetery in the first place?

"We hope that those responsible for hiding the object in the cemetery will 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," said Ganor to NBC.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Stumped archeologists ask Facebook for help to identify a mysterious object
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2015/1222/Stumped-archeologists-ask-Facebook-for-help-to-identify-a-mysterious-object
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe