When I studied the skeletal materials from the sarcophagus stored at the Smithsonian in 1988 (on my honeymoon!), it looked as though something had been poured into the sarcophagus (or on the bones) that had reacted badly with it. The inner parts of the sarcophagus itself had suffered quite badly as well. I would speculate that something had been poured on, or leaked into, the sarcophagus. Perhaps this substance reacted with the limestone, forming a strong acid that deteriorated the bones over time. I’ve always wanted to see these bones redated in a modern lab.—Stephen Bourke
BAR is looking into the possibility of redating the bones from the Pella sarcophagus.—Ed.