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Final Farewell: The Culture of Death and the Afterlife

Atonement for the Afterlife: The Jewish Practice of Ossilegium

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Ossuary of a Woman Named MarthaOssuary of a Woman Named Martha

The front face of this ossuary is decorated with two rosettes and a stylized palm tree. The rosettes may represent love and hope, while the palm represents spiritual victory and eternal peace. The zigzag borders possibly allude to the water of life and death. The ossuary’s lid has an ancient Greek inscription written on the top and underside, indicating the deceased was a woman named Martha.

Ossuary of a Woman Named Martha
Jewish
ca. 20/15 B.C.E.–70 C.E.
Palestine, south of Jerusalem
Limestone
(68.287a and b)

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