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Science File | IN BRIEF

Ancient Masada Fresco Vandalized by Thieves

December 27, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Souvenir-hunting thieves have stolen part of an ancient fresco from the Israeli archeological site of Masada, Israeli officials said Sunday.

The thieves removed a 6-inch-square section of the fresco that decorated the ancient Roman headquarters at Masada, located on a barren mountain overlooking the Dead Sea, the National Parks Authority said.

Masada was originally a palace built by the Jewish King Herod on a desert mountain whose sheer sides served as natural fortification. After the Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple in AD 70, Jewish fighters took refuge there.

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