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Photos: Israeli Police Seize Stolen Ancient Coffins

Busted

(Image credit: IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery)

In a sting operation, Israeli authorities busted suspects who were attempting to illegally sell 11 ancient ossuaries on March 28, 2014.

Ancient Bone Boxes

(Image credit: IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery)

Ossuaries were stone coffins used to hold skeletal remains in ancient times. These boxes were used for burials in the Second Temple period, some 2,000 years ago.

Caught Red-Handed

(Image credit: IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery)

The suspects were caught near the Hizma checkpoint north of Jerusalem by inspectors from the Israel Antiquities Authority's Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery and detectives and patrolmen of the Shefet police station in Jerusalem.

Names of the Dead

(Image credit: IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery)

Some of the ossuaries were engraved with inscriptions in squared Hebrew script and include names of the dead, such as Yo'azar and Ralfin.

Looted Coffins

(Image credit: IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery)

The ossuaries are thought to have been looted from a burial cave in Jerusalem.

Ancient Symbols

(Image credit: IAA Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery)

The coffins are also decorated with Jewish symbols, such as the lily flower and the six-petal rosette.

Live Science Staff
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