Last year, a regular excavation in the Gaza Strip is to construct a new housing project unveiled a huge Roman Era graveyard for Roman elites who lived there in the past.
Being an important urban center across the ages Palestinians have found artifacts and structures that date as early as the Bronze Age traversing ancient Egyptian and Roman eras to Medieval Arab and Crusader periods.
This latest find is a unique lead sarcophagus aged around two millennia ago. French-led archeologists have gleaned much information about Roman citizens’ health and habits from the 135 unearthed graves so far.
As there are no official museums except for a privately owned museum ‘Al Mathaf’ coupled with the instability posed by the conflicts that always flare up, Palestinians have no recourse to display or study the antiquities found.
Due to the embargo on the Gaza Strip and subsequent financial hardship faced by those living there, some resort to selling antiquities they find, like the rare Alexander the Great silver decadrachm coins that can fetch up to $30,000 apiece.
Palestinians hope that these finds will highlight the rich history that Gaza holds beneath its ground to tell their forefather’s stories in light of efforts to erase it.
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