Largest ancient cemetery ever discovered in Gaza unearthed
Gaza holds a rich history due to its strategic location along ancient trade routes connecting Egypt and the Levant.
Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip stumbled upon a trove of ancient Roman graves, including two intricately designed lead sarcophagi dating back over 2,000 years, AP reported.
Archaeologists are hailing this find as the largest cemetery ever unearthed in Gaza. The site's unexpected unveiling occurred last year during the construction of a housing project funded by Egypt, near the town of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip.
Since its initial discovery, diligent excavation efforts have unfolded across the sprawling 2,700-square-meter site, supported by French archaeological experts.
Gaza holds a rich history due to its strategic location along ancient trade routes connecting Egypt and the Levant. However, a combination of factors, prime among which is Israeli occupation, have put Palestine's archaeological treasures at risk.
Leading the excavation is French archaeologist Rene Elter, who shared insights into their findings; he said "All of these tombs have almost already been excavated and have revealed a huge amount of information about the cultural material and also about the state of health of the population and the pathologies from which this population may have suffered."
In addition to the sarcophagi, Elter's team is meticulously restoring excavated skeletons and piecing together fragments of clay jars.
The skeletons will undergo further analysis outside of Gaza before returning to the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism in Gaza.
Elter emphasized the need for a dedicated team to oversee archaeological efforts in Gaza, stating, "The Gazans deserve to tell their stories. Gaza boasts a plethora of potential archaeological sites, but monitoring each one, given the rapid pace of development, is no small feat."