into the Tomb Complex:
The tomb complex is first entered from the monastery garden through a large metal door. The visitor emerges into a modern portion of the tombs, where members of the community are buried, as well as friends of the monastery.
For example, there are a series of graves to the right of the door (unseen in picture) which house the remains of female friends of the monstery, including the remains of three women killed in the 1963 flash flood at Petra.
Since the 1900's, members of the community have been buried adjacent to the ancient tomb complex, in these concrete repositories. Several names will be familiar to the student of Near Eastern studies, such as Fathers DeVaux, Vincent, Abel, and Benoit.
When the biocultural study is completed, the Byzantine remains will be places in two of these repositories with a special inscription.
This inscribed stone was found in the early excavations of the site. It reads:
Qhch diajerousa Euqumiou d(ia)co(nou) Pindirh
Several ossuaries were found scattered throughout the tombs and around the grounds of the current monastery. They were used to house the bones after decomposition during the Second Temple period (1st century AD).
Most have patterns inscribed on at least one face, and the ossuary to the far right contains several small Hebrew letters assumed to be the 'signature' of the craftsman.
These ossuaries and the inscription above are positioned around the tomb complex for display. Their current placement does not indicate their original location when the site was first excavated.
and Entryway to Ancient Complex:
This is the modern altar in the Crypt Complex, used today for funerals and special holiday observances (such as All Saints Day).
opening behind the altar -- this is the original entryway into the ancient
Click on the image to move into the ancient complex.
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