Jerusalem – Israel’s leading museum said Wednesday that a young visitor accidentally bumped into a display case and broke an ancient glass artifact, but later changed its account and said the cause of the mishap was unclear.
Israel Museum official Ran Lior initially said a girl inadvertently broke the artifact earlier this week but declined to identify her.
Later Wednesday, the museum’s deputy director, Zach Granit, said that security camera footage showed a girl passing by the display, but it was unclear whether she actually stumbled into it or whether the item broke some other way.
The museum refused to allow The Associated Press to watch the security camera footage. It also refused to allow a photo of the artifact to be taken. When asked why the museum had changed its account, Lior said he did not know all the relevant information when he spoke.
Lior said the item, a gold-glass base of a 4th century Roman funerary vessel, broke along a previously repaired crack. He said the museum has restored the item and returned it to the display.
The artifact includes a Latin inscription and a depiction of a Christian couple with their children.
It is one of some 300 ancient Roman and Near Eastern artifacts donated to the museum this year by Robert and Renee Belfer. The artifacts are on public display for the first time.