Jerusalemites began to cut loculi in tombs in the second century B.C.E. At the end of the first century, the custom developed of placing the bones in a limestone box called an ossuary, instead of in a bone repository (as was used in First Temple days) or in a separate room.


See BAR 08:01 cover.



From 1980 on, renewed research at Maresha was carried out intensively by the Israel Antiquities Authority (the IAA, then the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Education and Culture). From 1989 to 1994, six excavation seasons were conducted under the direction of the present writer on behalf of the IAA. The tomb restoration project, supervised by the IAA, began in 1993. As part of the park at the site, the excavation and restoration were funded by the Israel Government Tourist Corporation, the National Parks Authority and the Jewish National Fund together with the IAA. The site was opened to the public on Passover 1991.


Frederick J. Bliss and Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister, Excavations in Palestine 1898–1900 (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1902). Also see Michael Avi-Yonah and Amos Kloner, “Maresha (Marisa),” in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, ed. Ephraim Stern (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), vol. 3, pp. 948–957.


Kloner and Nahum Sagiv, “The Olive Presses of Hellenistic Maresha, Israel,” in Oil and Wine Production in the Mediterranean Area, ed. Marie-Claire Amouretti and J.-P. Brun, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, Supplement 26 (1993), pp. 119–136.


Kloner, “A Unique Hellenistic Juglet from Maresha (Marissa/Tell Sandahannah),” The Third Scientific Conference on Hellenistic Pottery 1991, ed. St. Drougou et al. (Athens, 1994), vol. 1, pp. 269–271, vol. 2, p. 218.


Kloner and O. Hess, “A Columbarium in Complex 21 at Maresha,” Atiqot 17 (1985), pp. 122–133.


Eleazar D. Oren and U. Rappaport, “The Necropolis of Maresha-Beth Govrin,” Israel Exploration Journal 34 (1984), pp. 114–153.


John P. Peters and Hermann Thiersch, Painted Tombs in the Necropolis of Marissa (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1905).


Peters and Thiersch, Painted Tombs.