Four Roman tombs dating back 2,000 years have been discovered in the north of the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian archaeologist announced to AFP on Saturday. This find allowed the reconstruction of the first complete Roman cemetery in this Palestinian territory. “With the discovery of these four tombs, the total number of tombs in this Roman cemetery, dating from the period between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD, now stands at 134,” said Fadel Al-Otol , deploring a lack of financial means to continue the work.
It is, according to him, “the first complete Roman necropolis” unearthed in Gaza. “Pottery fragments and metal pieces used in funerary rituals” were also discovered, he added. “Two lead coffins, one decorated with bunches of grapes and the other with dolphins swimming in the water, were recently discovered at the site,” notes the Palestinian archaeologist.
The cemetery notably houses tombs with a pyramidal structure. Inside, a team of technicians tackle restoration operations with rudimentary tools. Funding for the excavation and restoration work comes from the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund.
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The Gaza Strip, a cramped and poor territory, is bordered by Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean. Controlled by the Palestinian Islamist Hama movement, it has been subject to an Israeli blockade for more than 15 years.