Rolling Stone Tombs in Jerusalem
I remember hearing some years ago that archaeologists have discovered only four tombs in Jerusalem with round rolling stones. In doing some research, I have learned that there are at least six. Rachel Hachlili’s book on Jewish Funerary Customs, Practices and Rites in the Second Temple Period says this:
A round rolling stone [golel], closing the entrance was found in several rock-cut tombs [in the cemetery of Jericho], dated to the end of the first century BCE and the first century CE. At the door a slot was cut to hold a round stone; the stone was rolled into the slot away from the entrance.
The following tombs in Jerusalem were sealed by means of rolling stones: the Tomb of Helene [the Tomb of the Kings], Herod’s family tomb, the Nicophoria tomb (east of Herod’s family tomb), a tomb on Mt. Scopus, a tomb in the Kidron Valley, and the Hinnom Valley tomb. Similar rolling stones were discovered at a tomb at Horvat Midras and at the cemetery of Hesban (page 64; quotation modified by the addition of a paragraph break and elimination of parenthetical material).
Rolling stone tombs have also been identified near Kiriath Jearim (Abu Gosh), Michmash (Mukmas), and Megiddo.
This looks like a great book, but when it’s published by Brill, you have to be satisfied with reading it in the library.
View from inside “Herod’s family tomb” with rolling stone (photo source)