Friday, September 23, 2011

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.

Rolling stone in Tomb of Mariamne, mat05008

View from inside “Herod’s family tomb” with rolling stone (photo source)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home