Inscribed Ossuary

Jordan: Jifna; ca. 70 B.C.- 70 A.D. Limestone. Oriental Museum. Gift of Dr. Harold H. Willoughby, 1953. "The name "Yo-ezer the scribe" is inscribed on one end of this ossuary, a repository for bones. Around the end of the 1st century B.C., Jewish burial practices changed from primary burial in wooden coffins to secondary burial in small limestone caskets such as this one. The body seems first to have been buried in a pit until only the bones remained. These were then gathered up and transferred to the ossuary, which was placed in a rock-hewn communal tomb. This ossuary is decorated with incised geometric designs. The Hebrew inscription on the side reads "Yo-ezer, son of Yehohanan, the scribe."

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