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Buried Treasure: Ancient Sarcophagi Unearthed At Zoo

Roman-era coffins were rediscovered a second time at Israeli safari park.

In a fascinating archeological discovery, two ancient sarcophagi were recently unearthed at the Ramat Gan Safari Park in Israel — again.

The Roman-era stone coffins were discovered many years ago under the zoo’s parking lot, then transferred to an area near the veterinary clinic and the African savannah zone. However,. they were forgotten and disappeared once again beneath sand and thick vegetation.

When construction of a new wildlife hospital was underway, the head of the African savannah zone noticed the two coffins jutting out of the ground and quickly  contacted the zoo’s animal health and management director, who alerted the Israel Antiquities Authority’s theft prevention unit.

According to IAA archeologists, the sarcophagi are around 1,800 years old and date back to the Roman period. They’re made of local stone, probably from the Judean Hills or Samaria, and were a locally produced imitation of prestigious marble from the Turkish island of Marmara.

One of the ancient sarcophagi unearthed at the Ramat Gan Safari Park hangs high off the ground. (Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority)

Based on the stones and their identical ornate decoration, the coffins are assumed to have been intended for people of high status, possibly a husband and wife or members of the same family. They include symbolic discs meant to accompany the soul on its journey to the afterlife.

The precious finds have now been transferred to the Israeli National Treasures repository.

Edited by Fern Siegel and David Martosko

Ancient sarcophagi get lost at zoo, then unearthed anew appeared first on ISRAEL21c.