Researchers from Haifa University's Department of Archaeology say the cave was used as a quarry and perhaps later as an ancient monastery, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
The cave was found in March just north of Jericho and is the largest man-made cave ever found in Israel, the newspaper said. Its main hall is reportedly held up by 22 pillars, on which are carved roman numerals, a Roman legion's pennant, crosses and zodiac-like symbols.
Professor Adam Zertal, who headed the dig, told the Post he dates the cavern to 1 A.D.
"Initially, the place was utilized as a quarry, which was active for 400 to 500 years," Zertal said. "But the other findings definitely give the impression that the cave was used for other purposes, such as a monastery, and perhaps even a hideaway."
Beyonce flaunts bikini body, Blue Ivy in vacation pics
Benedict Cumberbatch's dramatic reading of R. Kelly lyrics is just what you need