>A Canaanite (?) Tomb Found in Bethlehem

>According to a news release by the Associated Press, workers renovating a house in Bethlehem have discovered an untouched ancient tomb containing clay pots, plates, beads, and the bones of two humans. According to the report, the tomb is dated to the Early Bronze Age, between 2,200 B.C. and 1,900 B.C.

The following is an excerpt from the news release:

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — Workers renovating a house in the traditional town of Jesus’ birth accidentally discovered an untouched ancient tomb containing clay pots, plates, beads and the bones of two humans, a Palestinian antiquities official said Tuesday.

The 4,000-year-old tomb provides a glimpse of the burial customs of the area’s inhabitants during the Canaanite period, said Mohammed Ghayyada, director of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Workers in a house near the Church of the Nativity uncovered a hole leading to the grave, which was about one yard below ground, he said. They contacted antiquities officials, who photographed the grave intact before removing its contents.

They dated the grave to the Early Bronze Age, between 1,900 B.C. and 2,200 B.C.

Jerusalem-based archaeologist and historian Stephen Pfann called the find “an important reference to the life of the Canaanites,” adding that it could give a glimpse into life in the area before the time when the Biblical patriarchs are said to have lived.

While many artifacts exist from this period, intact graves are rare, mainly because of looting, he said.

Intact graves are more useful to scholars because they show how items were arranged.

You can read the news release in its entirety by clicking here. The story also contains the photo of a representative of the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism examining the pottery found in the tomb.

HT: Todd Bolen

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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