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The Israeli Antiquities Authority has recovered a sarcophagus from Roman times that construction workers intended to hide after unearthing it from a place where a building was being constructed.
The limestone coffin, which is estimated to be about 1,800 years old and discovered last week during construction work on a neighborhood on the coast of the city of Ashkelon, it has been described as unique by Gabi Mazor, a retired Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist and expert on the time.
The workers who found the coffin chose to remove it thanks to the help of a tractor, damaging it before hiding it under metal shelves and planks, according to the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
The policemen have asked the suspected workers why they did not report the discovery and the authority has promised to undertake legal proceedings against those involved.
[Tweet "The workers who found the sarcophagus damaged it before hiding it"]
A spokesperson for the Authority has said that They do not know why the workers tried to hide the finding. Mazor has said that the decorations on the sarcophagus are particularly remarkable.
«All sides are decorated with very nice drawings. Only a few sarcophagi have been found in Israel, but very few had decorations«, Mazor explained.
The lid of the sarcophagus has the image of a man, thought to represents the deceased, with his left arm bent, he wears an embroidered T-shirt, with Roman-style curls and no beard, which implies that he is a young man. Engraved around the sarcophagus are images of bull heads, naked Cupids, and the head of Medusa's female monster.
Ashkelon was a mixed city made up of pagan Romans and Jews, as well as SamaritansBut Mazor says that the decorations on the sarcophagus leave no doubt that it belonged to Roman times.