© Dr. Eilat Mazar

Whole families used the tombs, which housed numerous burials over hundreds of years. As time went by, there was an increased desire for privatization of individual burials. Thus some tombs feature rows of stone “fences” to separate the bodies. At the end of the tenth century, tombs began to include burial benches for laying out the deceased, and by the seventh century some chose to bury their dead in sarcophagi or in long rectangular niches in the wall called loculi (singular loculus; Hebrew koch, plural kochim).