A woman walking on the beach with her sister near Caesarea stumbled upon the 2,000 year-old bones of a Roman soldier, police said Tuesday.
Julia Shvekky, 53, of Kibbutz Barkai was walking along the beach with her sister, Janet Daws, who is visiting from London late Monday afternoon looking for sea shells and mosaic pieces when they came across the ancient remains.
"We were walking on the beach looking for interesting bits and pieces and we said to ourselves wouldn't it be nice if we found something really interesting," Shvekky said Tuesday.
Minutes later, the two women found the bones in the ground on the beachfront. Shvekky thought that the bones looked strange, but was uncertain they were human remains. "I mean, who finds human bones on a walk on the beach," she said.
The two sisters decided to play detective.
Picking up three of the bones, Shvekky brought the remains back to her kibbutz and consulted an anatomy book, she said.
The bones looked remarkably similar to those of human remains so the two women brought them to a kibbutz nurse, who confirmed that they were indeed adult human bones.
The dazzled kibbutz member then phoned police, who had the sisters come in to the station together with the bones they had discovered.
On Monday evening, the two women accompanied Hadera police officers back to the area of the beach where they had found the bones, and the site, on a cliff about two kilometers up from the beach, was subsequently cordoned off as police collected the rest of the remains.
The human remains were then sent to the morgue for pathological testing, police said.
The bones - apparently those of a Roman soldier - had been exposed from a nearby Roman cemetery and were likely washed down to the beach-front during the recent winter rains, according to police.
The Israel Antiquities Authority was not involved in the testing, which was carried out by police, a spokeswoman for the state-run archeological body said.
Founded by King Herod in the first century BCE on the site of a Phoenician and Greek trade post known as Straton's Tower, the ancient Roman port city of Caesarea was named for Herod's Roman patron, Augustus Caesar.
Archaeological excavations in the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, including a complex of Crusader fortifications and a Roman theater.
Shvekky said that the find was the highlight of her sister's month-long trip to Israel. "We love beach-combing anyway," she said. "But this really made her holiday."