Roman-era catacombs unearthed near Bethlehem

April 27th, 2009 - 5:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Jerusalem, April 27 (ANI): Archaeologists have unearthed Roman-era catacombs in Bethlehem during construction in an empty lot beside Bethlehem University.

According to a report by the Ma’an News Agency, the small underground cave system opens facing north, and held four stone coffins with engravings on each, housed in two separate dug out burial areas.

Wael Hamamrah, Head of Antiquates department in Jericho, estimated that the artifacts, complete with skeletal remains and some pottery are between 1,800 and 1,900 years old.

Construction workers preparing to lay pipe in the yard called Palestinian tourism and antiquates police when they went to investigate the sudden collapse of earth in an area they had been digging in that morning.

The underground hall leads to two rooms, one 70×28 centimeters and the other 40×24 centimeters.

Mohammad Al-Quraji, Head engineer at the site, said the crew was very surprised when the earth collapsed, and stunned when they peered into the underground tombs.

They left the scene untouched until antiquities experts arrived, and helped remove debris as experts investigated the site. (ANI)

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