Roman-era sarcophagus found in Gaza

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Written by Dalya Al Masri, CNNAbu Dhabi, UAE

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A Roman-era lead sarcophagus was uncovered on Tuesday on the website of a 2000-year-old Roman necropolis within the Gaza Strip. The necropolis is alongside the Northern Gaza coast and 500 meters (0.3 miles) from the ocean.

The sarcophagus might have belonged to a outstanding particular person primarily based on the place it was discovered, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities’ director of excavation and museums, Jehad Yasin, instructed CNN on Thursday.

Yasin mentioned the traditional Roman cemetery was found in 2022 “as excavations have been carried out on the website in cooperation with Premiere Urgence Internationale and funded by the British Council.”

Premiere Urgence Internationale, a French humanitarian group, has collaborated on “Palestinian cultural heritage preservation” tasks in Gaza below a program referred to as INTIQAL.

The coffin was exhumed from the location to carry out archaeological evaluation for bone identification, which can take round two months, based on Yasin.

A group of consultants in historical funerary will unseal the coffin within the coming weeks.

Whereas Gaza is a website of frequent aerial bombardment and a land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israeli and Egyptian officers, the sarcophagus stays intact.

“The state of preservation of the sarcophagus is outstanding, because it remained sealed and closed,” learn a press launch from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

French and Palestinian archaeologists have uncovered 85 particular person and collective tombs within the 3,500-square-meter Roman acropolis since its discovery final yr, whereas 10 of them have been opened for excavation.

Past the rubble of the coastal enclave lay dozens of artifacts and burial websites from the Roman, Byzantine and Canaanite eras.

Final yr a Palestinian farmer found the top of a 4,500-year-old statue of Canaanite goddess Anat whereas one other Palestinian farmer found a Byzantine-era mosaic in his orchard.
In 2022 the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities launched their first Arabic archaeological guide titled “Gaza, the Gateway to the Levant.” The information charts 39 archaeological websites in Gaza, together with church buildings, mosques and historical homes that date again to six,000 years.

The ministry expects extra archaeological findings on the necropolis.

Additional sarcophagi are prone to be uncovered within the following months, mentioned Director Yasin.

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