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Well Preserved Oil Frescoes Have Been Found In A Byzantine Tomb In Jordan

Published on 21 December, 2016 at 8:07 pm By

An ancient tomb has been discovered in Jordan in the northern town of Beit Ras during an excavation project to expand a local waste-water sanitation network.

The tomb includes a cave with two burial chambers. The larger chamber contains a basalt stone rock-cut tomb decorated with raised etchings of two lion heads and with several human bones enclosed.


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A sarcophagus made from basalt and decorated with carvings of two lion heads. La Stampa

This tomb is made unique by the fascinating oil frescoes decorating the walls of the chamber.

The frescoes portray human figures, horses and other mythological scenes, some of which have partly eroded but remain intact for the most part giving us great insight into the burial rites of the past. The second chamber contains two more rock-cut tombs without any artifacts.

 

One of the frescoes inside the tomb. La Stampa

These breathtaking frescoes include paintings of grape vines which represent the social and agricultural life prevalent during the Classical Antiquity thought to most likely belong in the Hellenistic or Early Roman period.

The inscriptions and some artifacts found in the tomb are being analysed to give a more accurate time-frame of when this tomb was built and who it was built for.



 

The frescoes are in a fine state of preservation. La Stampa

Her Excellency Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ms. Lina Annab, following a visit to the site, confirmed that the Department of Antiquities will continue to excavate, expand and prepare the site for future visitors. Her Excellency also confirmed that due to the tomb’s archaeological value, the site has been closed off to visitors and on-lookers to protect the archaeological integrity of the tomb as more tests are being run to ascertain more information about its significance.


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Mythological scenes such as this are the dominant theme of the frescoes. La Stampa

On his end Dr. Munther Jamhawi, Director General for the Department of Antiquities pointed to the fact that the city of Beit Ras is one of the ancient Hellenistic/Roman Decapolis League cities, and was known during that time as Capitolias.


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This city was also mentioned in Arabic poetry as a unique location that included a theater dated back to the 2nd century AD and the remains of a Byzantine Church whose architectural styles were later used during the Islamic era and specifically during the early Umayyad period.

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