The scene was more like a moonscape than a landscape. Starlight highlighted the dark gaping holes of robbed-out tombs and collapsed underground chambers. These tombs and chambers were the reason we were here. They belonged to a necropolis in the Judean Hills that had been systematically plundered for months. We had never been able to catch the robbers in the act. But this night was to be different.
Earlier that day we had received a phone call from a local kibbutznik whose suspicion had been aroused by a pickup truck parked for several nights near the fields of his kibbutz. An archaeology lover, he called the Anti-Plunder Task Force of the Israel Department of Antiquities. So we were here, waiting.