ASOR Punic Project/James Whitred

Contents of the urns had to be carefully removed. All the urns excavated in the Tophet contained fragile burned bones. The archaeologists had to develop an effective system for extracting urn contents without damaging the delicate remains. Here excavators gently use water from a garden hose to loosen the contents of an urn so that they can be emptied onto a mesh screen. Dirt and ash sift through the screen, leaving the bone and other residues to dry. The remains of two other urns are drying on this screen. Once the contents dry, the bones are sorted and analyzed by osteologists.