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A shutdown in Judea and Samaria due to the COVID-19 coronavirus has provided an opportunity for thieves to carry out illegal digs without impunity. Hirbet Astunah, an archaeological site in the Shiloh Valley, was recently raided and stripped by bandits who tried to steal some ornate stones, causing damage to some of the structures. Ein Samia, a site which includes an ancient city dating to the time of the Israelite kingdom, was also raided. Recently a group of robbers were apprehended at Khirbet ‘Alamit, near Jerusalem. There is a significant concern that thieves are taking advantage of the suspension of enforcement to loot these ancient sites. At this time, it appears that ABR’s excavation area has not been hit, as it is fenced-in on the property of the Shiloh Jewish community.


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