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Israeli ‘Burning Man’ Festival Damages Ancient Archaeological Site

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Midburn, an Israeli version of the popular “Burning Man” festival, is under fire for causing damage to a neighboring historic archaeological site.

According to Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the festival, which drew 6,000 people to the Negev desert, burned a Midburn “temple” that had been constructed on a nearby hill, in much the same way that the Nevada iteration of the event burns a man-made structure at the festival’s end.

But the blaze reportedly ended up causing damage to an archaeological site at Nahal Boker, which contains artifacts and ruins from the Middle Paleolithic Period 150,000 years ago, and the more recent Epipaleolithic Period 15,000 years ago.

“It’s unfortunate and sad,” Israel Antiquities Authority district archaeologist Yoram Haimi told the paper. Haimi said he would file a police complaint against the festival.

“Maybe that will deter them next year.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority said the damage could be significant, but it will not know conclusively until rain washes most of the dust away from the site.

“The antiquities authority contacted us only in the middle of the event,” Midburn’s organizers said in a statement, adding that they had all of the necessary permits in order. “We tried very hard not to harm the area and collect all the waste, because that’s part of Midburn’s principles. We regret any misunderstanding.”

 


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