Abraham Graice

A shaft tomb. Poorer people in the first century C.E., whose families could not afford rock-cut tombs, buried their dead in trench graves. A 5-to-7-foot-deep trench was dug with a niche at the bottom for the body. The example in the photo, from Beit Safafa, southwest of Jerusalem, shows two skeletons buried head to toe in the niche at the bottom of the shaft. Other trench graves have been located at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and at Khirbet Qazone, southeast of the Dead Sea. Jesus likely would have been buried in such a tomb had Joseph of Arimathea not offered a place in his family’s rock-cut tomb.