Roman-era Sarcophagus Uncovered in Gaza

An archeology expert works on remains found in a grave at the site of a 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery, in the northern Gaza Strip on Feb. 14.

GAZA (Reuters) — A Roman-era sarcophagus, likely to have belonged to a prominent individual, was uncovered at the site of a 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery discovered last year in the northern Gaza Strip, the territory’s antiquities ministry said on Feb. 14.

So far, 90 individual and mass graves have been found at the site, which is being supervised by a French team of experts and which was uncovered last year by construction workers on an Egyptian-funded housing project.

The ministry said in a statement it believed the sarcophagus, made from lead, belonged to a high-profile figure from the era, but added it had not yet been opened. It had been put in a protective wooden container and would be subject to further study by Palestinian and international expert teams.

Ministry spokesman Tareq Al-Af said opening the sarcophagus would await the arrival of an international metal expert. He said some clay jars and other belongings found in the cemetery pointed to the Roman era, around 2,000 years ago.