Garo Nalbandian

JEWISH PRESENCE at Emmaus is evident in the rock-cut graves from the Herodian period that employed typical Jewish burial practices. The deceased was first placed in a niche (loculus in English, kokh in Hebrew) in the cave wall deep enough to hold the body. Three of these niches can be seen in this picture. The stone at the left of the picture above appears to be a device with which to block the door. After a year, when the flesh had fallen away, the deceased’s bones were placed in a limestone bone box, or ossuary. The close-up at right shows typical decoration on Jewish ossuaries of the time.