Sarcophagus at Caesarea Maritima

September 23, 2013

Among the remains near the theater at Caesarea Maritima is a sarcophagus, a burial box. The word sarcophagus means flesh eater. This is due to the fact that a common practice was to remove the bones from the sarcophagus once the flesh had decomposed, and place the bones in an ossuary, a depository for the bones. The sarcophagus would then be reused as needed by other deceased family members.

Sarcophagus at Caesarea Maritima. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Sarcophagus at Caesarea Maritima. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The information sign informs us:

Stone coffins were made out of two huge blocks – a cavity in which the corpse was placed and a double-slopped roof lid on which a Greek inscription was engraved: “the grave of Prokopios the Deacon.” The coffins were decorated with flora, hunting mythological scenes or with geometric shapes for more modest coffins.

Most sarcophagi [plural of sarcophagus] discovered in Caesarea belonged to the Roman-Byzantine cemetery which is still to be fully excavated.

Caesarea was the Roman capital of Judea during the ministry of Jesus.

Click image for larger view.



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