A thief returned a pair of antique Roman balls because they brought him 'nothing but trouble'

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Someone learned a lesson or two from the Indiana Jones movies!

An unidentified person has returned a 2,000 year old set of Roman ballista balls — smooth rocks for your favorite centurion's slingshot — to an archaeological site in Israel where they had disappeared 20 years ago.

The reason for the thief's sudden change of heart: The balls were cursed.


"These are two Roman ballista balls from Gamla, from a residential quarter at the foot of the summit," reads a note that was returned with the balls to archaeologists at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). "I stole them in July 1995, and since then they have brought me nothing but trouble. Please, do not steal antiquities!"

Danny Syon, an archaeologist with the IAA, said that the organization had no idea that any artifacts had gone missing, which means that the thief would have gotten away with it had the balls not cursed him. The team had stored the ballista balls after initial excavations concluded in 1989, and "the theft occurred in 1995 when there was no one at the site."


How could these two Roman ballista balls have caused our thief so much trouble that — after twenty years — he or she would have become frustrated enough to return them? The possibilities are endless, ranging from being haunted to always sliding off of the top shelf to bonk people on the head.

Perhaps, like the original reason for the theft, it's sometimes best for a history mystery to go unsolved.

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: david.matthews@fusion.net