Research of burials constitutes one of the main reliable sources of information related to various aspects of funerary practices and rituals, and offers a perception of ancient social life and community organization. The material remains of mortuary rituals is effective in reconstructing the history of a society, its religious beliefs and its social outlook. Tombs offer ample data on the artistic taste evinced by funerary architecture and the ornamentation of receptacles and objects.
Changes in Jewish funerary practices did not alter the plan and architecture of the tombs. Though the funerary rites changed from inhumation in coffins and loculi to secondary burial by collecting bones in ossuaries the artifacts associated with these graves did not modify much and indicate that these were culturally and socially identical people.
The study outlines the material preserved in the ancient Jewish cemeteries of the Second Temple period (first century BCE to first century CE) at Jerusalem, Jericho, ‘En Gedi, Qumran and some other tomb sites.
Rachel Hachlili, Ph.D. in Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, is Professor at the Department of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Israel. She has published extensively on
Ancient Jewish Art and Archaeology in the Land of Israel (Brill, 1988);
in the Diaspora (Brill, 1998); on the
excavations of the Jewish cemetery at Jericho (1999) and on the
Zweifellos ein weiteres Standardwerk aus der Werkstatt der Autorin, das ebenfalls viel Jahre massgebend sein wird.' Friedrich Schipper,
Bibel und Liturgie, 2005.
All those interested in ancient burial customs and rites, funerary art and inscriptions as well as Jewish history and art of the Second Temple period.