JERUSALEM, Israel - Two Palestinians were arrested on Tuesday trying to sell a rare and valuable 2,000-year-old Hebrew scroll.
The well-preserved, handwritten papyrus scroll, penned by a widow named Miriam Ben Yaakov, relinquishes property rights during a time when Jews were being driven from their biblical homeland.
The first line of the scroll reads, "Year 4 to the destruction of Israel." Scholars believe that could either refer to 74 A.D., four years after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple, or to 138 A.D., following the Bar Kochba revolt.
According to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the unusually well-preserved scroll, described as "an exceptional archaeological document," would be worth between $5 and $10 million on the open market.
Authorities believe that antiquity thieves likely found the scroll in a cave somewhere in Israel.
The scroll was slightly damaged when it was excavated by non-professionals. It is no undergoing a series of laboratory tests to verify its authenticity.
All antiquities in Israel are the property of the State under the jurisdiction of the IAA and cannot be bought or sold.