A rare sarcophagus dating back to the Roman era has been unearthed in Gaza City, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced on Monday.
The sarcophagus, which is made of marble and decorated with carvings of flowers and leaves, was found during excavation works for a residential building in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, according to a statement by the ministry.
The ministry said that the sarcophagus is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Gaza in recent years, and that it reflects the rich cultural heritage of the coastal enclave that was once part of the Roman province of Syria-Palestine.
The ministry added that it will work to preserve and restore the sarcophagus, and display it in a suitable museum for public viewing.
Gaza, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007, is home to many archaeological sites and monuments that date back to different historical periods, such as the Canaanite, Pharaonic, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman eras.
However, due to the lack of resources and expertise, as well as the frequent Israeli attacks and conflicts, many of these sites are endangered or damaged. The ministry called on the international community to support its efforts to protect and promote Gaza’s cultural heritage.