Unearthing History: Emotional Discovery of 75-Year-Old Compass from Battle Site

The field of archaeology often presents findings from the distant past, but a recent discovery has deeply moved researchers as it brings to light a piece of Israeli history from just 75 years ago. The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a brass compass belonging to one of the 35 Israeli soldiers killed during the 1948 War of Independence, in a battle known as “The Battle of the 35” or “The Convoy of 35.”

The Haganah, pre-state Israel’s primary paramilitary organization, sent a convoy of 38 men to deliver supplies to besieged Jewish communities in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. The convoy was detected by Arabs who cut off their route, and after an all-day battle and depletion of ammunition, all 35 remaining soldiers were killed and mutilated.

The recent discovery of the compass, along with Bren-type machine gun pods, has stirred deep emotions among archaeologists Eyal Marko of the Antiquities Authority and Dr. Rafi Lewis from Ashkelon Academic College and the University of Haifa. The researchers have been studying the Battle Hill site for two years, and the discovery of the bullet-struck compass has made the past feel closer and more personal.

Marko explains, “Although 75 years have already passed since the fall of the 35, here, there are faces and names. There is an almost personal acquaintance with each of the characters.” While the scientific aspect of their work remains crucial, the emotional connection to the events and people involved is hard to ignore.

The remarkable discovery of this compass at the historic battle site serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by the people of Israel in the pursuit of their independence. It illustrates the courage and resilience of the nation, as well as its commitment to preserving the memory of its heroes. The State of Israel continues to uphold these values, standing as a testament to the bravery and determination of its people.