Unearthed Roman Sarcophagus Hidden by Workers in Israel



Israeli authorities (IAA) are investigating contractor workers who have damaged a Roman-era sarcophagus fearing that it would halt their work, according to cnn.com.

Authorities contend that the contractors damaged the sarcophagus by hiding underneath a stack of metal sheet boards, hiding their tracks by pouring cement into the hole in which the contractors dug up the sarcophagus.

“They decided to hide it, pulled it out of the ground with a tractor while aggressively damaging it,” The IAA stated. Antiques Authority Spokesman Yoli Shwartz said that legal action would be taken.

The sarcophagus was determined to  weigh two tons and measured about two in a half meters long. The top of the sarcophagus was engraved with a man leaning on his left arm, possibly representing the deceased, according to news discovery.com.

Carved images of bull heads, wreaths, and a head of a monstrous Medusa head decorated the sides of the artifact.  “In the Roman period she was believed to protect the deceased,” Gaby Mazor said.  The IAA described it as the most important and beautiful coffin that was ever discovered in the country, according to newsartnet.com.

According to Gaby Mazor, as reported by the Discovery News, the sarcophagus was likely made for a wealthy Roman family.

Gaby Mazor had also said, “Such sarcophagus were usually placed next to a family mausoleum. The high level of decoration attested to the family affluence, which judging by the depicted motifs was probably not Jewish,”

“In the Roman period she was believed to protect the deceased,” she added.

The contractors involved are under  suspicion of not reporting the discovery, according to newsartnet.com. ” The company that the men work for announced an internal investigation into the incident and promised to pursue legal action if any wrongdoing is determined,” added the source.