Burial in Ancient Israel Part 6: Ossuaries

Jewish-Ossuaries

This is an ongoing series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here. Since rock-cut tombs were reused over many generations, an issue arose: what to do with the bones? Two approaches have been found. There is evidence that, for [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 5: Rock Cut Tombs

Rock cut tomb, Talpiot

This is an ongoing series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here. During the Late First Temple Period (8th to 6th century BC), we begin to see the creation of multichamber rock-cut tombs. Reached by rock-cut stairs leading to [Read More...]

The Earliest Biblical Painting?

Judgment of Solomon

Is this it?It comes from a house in Pompeii (buried by volcanic ash in 79 AD) and is believed to show Biblical scene of the Judgement of Solomon. Bible History Daily has the whole story. Theodore Feder writes: In the building known as the House of the Physician, excavators found a wall painting clearly depicting King [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 4: A Biblical Interlude

Dore used just about the only method of burial NOT practiced by the Israelites for his "Burial of Sarah"

This is an ongoing series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here. I want to pause at this point and turn from the archaeological record to the Biblical record to see what evidence we have for burial and [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 3: The Bronze Age

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This is an ongoing series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here. The Intermediate Bronze Age is so heavily marked by a rise in lavish burials that it’s one of the central features of the age. One of [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 2: Early Ossuaries and Shaft Tombs

Ossuary of the Chalcolithic Period, designed to resembled a home

This is an ongoing series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here. During the Chalcolithic Period (the “Copper Age”), a new kind of burial started appearing along the coastal plain, at sites like Azor, Bene-Berak, and Hedera. This [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 1: The First Graves

Human remains from es-Skhul

Rather than just leaving you postless and bereft as I work on an essay, I decided to share little slices of it over the course of the week. The essay concerns burial practices in the Levant, from the earliest evidence up to the time of Christ. The way we handle our dead is of immense cultural significance, [Read More...]

Smithsonian Yanks “Jesus’s Wife”

As I mentioned on Tuesday, Smithsonian had a documentary called “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” ready to run at 8pm on Sunday night. In the wake of numerous claims that the fragment is a forgery, they’ve decided to postpone that documentary pending additional testing. From USA Today: The Smithsonian Channel has postponed plans to broadcast [Read More...]


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