Tel Aviv: Two Israeli reserve soldiers unexpectedly stumbled upon a small, well-preserved Byzantine oil lamp at an army staging area in southern Israel near the Gaza border, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.

The find, by Nathaniel Melchior and Alon Segev, part of the 404th Battalion within the 282nd Fire Brigade, sparked a chain of events that led to the 1,500 year-old candle’s safe handover to the Antiquities Authority.

“During one of our wanderings in the field, I came across pottery lying upside down, and its round shape attracted me,” Melchior said. “It was covered in mud, I cleaned it and after I realised what it was about, I called the Antiquities Authority.”