2,000-year-old Roman cemetery unraveled in Gaza
A Roman cemetery containing at least 20 ornately decorated graves is uncovered in Gaza.
A 2,000-year-old cemetery that contains at least 20 ornately decorated graves has been uncovered in the north of the Gaza Strip, near the shoreline.
The Antiquities Ministry has called this the most important local discovery of the past decade.
The Gaza Strip, which has for a long time been blockaded by "Israel", is rich with antiquities, as it was an important trading spot for a number of civilizations dating as far back as the Egyptians and the Philistines depicted in the Bible, through the Roman empire and the crusades.
Samples of the ruins discovered there include the remains of a siege laid by Alexander the Great and a Mongol invasion.
Although twenty Roman graves have been located so far, the team expects to unearth another 60 graves within the 50 square meter cemetery. Two graves have been opened, one of which contained skeletal remains and some clay jars.
The shape of the graves and their ornate decorations reveal that they belonged to "senior ranking people" in the Roman empire during the first century, said Jamal Abu Rida, director-general of Gaza's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
"We have made several discoveries in the past, this is the most important archaeological discovery in the past 10 years," Abu Rida said.