Cave graves in Israel
One of the ancient burial methods in the Holy Land was the cave grave.
The rock formation and the mass amount of relatively soft limestone rocks made it easy to dig burial-caves which were used during all periods.
Some were small personal graves, some family plots and there were even mass burial “cities” – called necropolis i.
The cave-graves usually consisted of a large preparatory room (where they prepared and cleansed the bodies) and small niches where the bodies/sarcophagi/ossuaries were laid.
A sarcophagus (in Latin – flesh eater) was a full size coffin and the body was immediately placed inside. Ossuaries were small coffins (the length of the dead persons femur bone) and the dried off skeleton was folded up into the “box” after 11 months of “drying-out”.
The coffins were plain or decorated with religious motives. The walls were often decorated or painted. Mostly there was no mention of the dead persons name.
The caves were sealed with heavy stone doors or large coin-shaped rolling stones.
Even Jesus body was interned in a typical cave grave in Jerusalem for 3 days.
Here are a few pictures: