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Two Human Like Coffins

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Two Human Like Coffins
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Photo Comments

Two of the Anthropoid Coffins on display in the Israel Museum.  Note how the lids are decorated with reliefs of faces, hairstyles, and crossed arms (like the Egyptian deity of death, Osiris).

This collection of Human-Like Coffins (= Anthropoid Sarcophagi) were among the 50 that were discovered in the sanddunes at Deir al-Balah—a site/city in the Gaza Strip that is located about 8.5 miles southwest of Gaza City.

This cemetery was used during Late Bronze Age, that is, during the 14th and 13th centuries B.C.  It served both the Egyptian and local Canaanite population of the area.  The coffins were manufactured in this area and are made of clay/pottery.

The lids depict a human face, a practice originating in Egypt.  Some of the faces also have a small beard, similar to the beard of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead.  The bodies were not preserved through embalming.  Rich gifts, jewelry and food bowls, were deposited in the coffins along with the bodies of the deceased. Some coffins contained more than one body.