Courtesy Gideon Avni and Zvi Greenhut

“Eleazar of Beirut has made it” reads the Greek inscription on an ossuary decorated with a horned animal’s head found in room B of Cave 2. Ossuaries, used for secondary burials, were typically 2 feet long, 1.5 feet high and 1 foot wide. On one long side of this ossuary a Greek inscription, “Belonging to Eros,” names the deceased. Given the religious practices in Second Temple Jerusalem, which banned representations of animal or human figures in accord with a strict interpretation of the Second Commandment’s prohibition against “graven images,” we can conclude that the Eros family were probably Hellenized Jews who came to Jerusalem from outside Palestine.