Archaeologists in Israel: Ancient Israelites imported lead coffins from Lebanon

A forgotten lead ornamental fragment stashed away in a kibbutz library turns out to be identical with metal coffins found in Tyre.

 

For decades, a fragment from an ancient lead coffin lay stashed away in the basement of a kibbutz library. But a few months ago, a librarian came across it and showed it to researchers from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology – who realized that they had a rare find. The fragment of coffin found in the cellar of Kibbutz Gesher Haziv was absolutely identical to one found about a century earlier in the Lebanese city of Tyre.

The fragment of coffin found in the cellar of Kibbutz Gesher Haziv in Israel.

The fragment of coffin found in the cellar of Kibbutz Gesher Haziv in Israel. – Photo: Dr. Mordechai Aviam & Dina Shalem

The fragment dates from the late Roman era, the second or third century C.E., say the archaeologists.

Nobody in the western Galilee kibbutz remembers who found it, says Dr. Mordechai Aviam, who studied the fragment together with Dr. Dina Shalem. It was however apparently discovered in an area known as the “eastern cemetery” of Tel Akhziv, an ancient site on which the large Arab town of ez-Zib was later built, abandoned during the War of Independence in 1948.
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