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Archaeological Excavation Unearths Roman-Era Cemetery with over 125 Tombs in Gaza

The general director of the Gaza Antiquities Ministry, Jamal Abu Reida, defined the discovery as "unprecedented"

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PALESTINE: Archaeologists discovered 125 graves in a 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery in Gaza, containing mostly intact skeletons and two unusual lead sarcophaguses, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Antiquities.

As per the ancient Egyptians and the Philistines mentioned in the Bible, through the Roman Empire and the Crusades, the region was a significant commerce hub.

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Due to a lack of finance, local archaeologists in the past had to rebury their discoveries, but French agencies have assisted in the excavation of this site, which was found in February of last year by a construction crew working on a housing project funded by Egypt.

Fadel Al-A’utul, an expert at the French School of Biblical and Archaeological Research, told the UK media that a cemetery with 125 tombs has been discovered for the first time in Palestine. He also added that two lead sarcophaguses have been found in Gaza for the first time.

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A’utul, whose company is coordinating the work with assistance from French aid¬†outfit Premiere Urgence International, stated that “one of the two sarcophaguses was decorated with images of grapes and the other with dolphins.”

To preserve history, he seeks funds to preserve the site and create a museum featuring the discoveries. The goal is to attract tourists and showcase the site’s rich history.

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At least 25 engineers and experts worked on digging, removing dirt, and preserving skeletons in tombs. Clay jars were discovered in some tombs, and they have been put together.

This unusual discovery reveals Palestinian roots on the land and dates back thousands of years, according to Gaza Ministry of Antiquities general director Jamal Abu Reida.

Since 2007, when the Islamist terrorist organisation Hamas, which is opposed to peace with Israel, assumed control, Gaza has been subject to an Israeli-Egyptian economic siege. Since then, multiple wars have been endured by the 2.3 million Palestinians who live in the little coastal region.

The West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem Palestinian state-building negotiations, mediated by the US, broke down in 2014 and have not recovered.

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