The 1,800 year old Sarcophagus was discovered by accident in an Ashkelon construction site. Ashkelon is located along Israel’s Mediterranean coast according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) it is one of the rarest sarcophagi ever discovered. The Roman-era coffin measures 2.5 metres long, possesses a tent shaped lid and is sculpted on all sides. Unfortunately it appears that the construction workers attempted to conceal their find and instead of contacting the IAA they attempted to remove the sarcophagus using a tractor damaging it on all sides. It was then hidden beneath a pile of sheet metal, where the IAA found it after being alerted by members of the public.
“This is an extremely serious case of damage to a rare antiquity of unprecedented artistic, historical and cultural importance,” said Amir Ganor, head of the IAA inspection department. Concealing and damaging finds of this nature could see the construction workers gaoled for up to 5 years.
photo credit: Yoli Shwartz, IAA