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Anthropoid Sarcophagi from Gaza


‪‎Anthropoid Sarcophagi from Gaza

Anthropoid Sarcophagi from  the latter Canaanite period were discovered in Deir el-Balah. These coffins were from  14th-13th BC. Deir el-Balah is a city south of Gaza City. These pottery coffins were located near the sea. Here they had been protected from harm by large and massive sand dunes. These magnificent Anthropoid Sarcophagi can be viewed in The Israel Museum in  Jerusalem, Israel. Also at the Israel Museum you will find other coffins from similar cemeteries. Many of these cemeteries were nearer to the Nile Delta. No matter which cemetery they came from, they were all in fantastic condition. Each is unique! They were well decorated! They were carefully designed.

These Anthropoid Sarcophagi were exceptional and in perfect condition. Many of them show obvious Egyptian influence in their design and the way they were crafted. Pottery of this time in Egypt also was created by hand using the coil method. This is a strong way to create larger vessels.  Egyptian rulers, gods, and wealthy members of society were often the image used on these coffins. These large Anthropoid Sarcophagi  were also double fired to make them extra durable. In the first firing the lids were open and then the lids were given a second firing.

There were several features of this group of Gaza Anthropoid Sarcophagi  that were indications of Egyptian influence. Many of these coffins had indications of mommy figures. Also seen were shapes of the face, arms, and the hands of those who had passed on. In some cases you could also see their wig design. Some of the faces had small beards. This may have been an indication of the use of Egyptian god symbolism. The Egyptian god of death was often used.

These awesome Anthropoid Sarcophagi from the past can be seen in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel.  Also at the museum are many of the gifts buried with the dead. Many gifts were added, especially if the deceased person was wealthy. The museum is a wealth of information. It is well presented. It is interesting!

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is open:

Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 10 am – 5 pm
Tues 4 – 9 pm
Fri and Holiday Eves 10 am – 2 pm
Sat and Holidays 10 am – 5 pm


The Israel Museum is located in Jerusalem on 11 Ruppin Boulevard, Hakyria, near the Knesset (Israeli Parliament).

Derech Ruppin 11
Opposite the Knesset, Zip: 9171002
Tel: 02-6708811

There is a gift shop located on site. It is opened the same hours as the museum.

Chic Cafe is located near the model of the Second Temple. This is a dairy cafe. Admission to the museum is not necessary for the Cafe. Parking is free.