Israeli builders vandalize rare ancient sarcophagus

A rare, ornamental stone sarcophagus, some 1,800 years old, was damaged by a building contractor’s tractor working at the site of a new villa neighborhood in the town of Ashkelon. After it came to light during construction work, the builders tried to bury it under piles of rubbish and a layer of cement. The rare relic, which weighs two tons and is 2.5 meters long, was rescued by the Antiquities Department’s section for preventing the robbery of ancient artifacts. But the unusually artistic carvings adorning the sarcophagus, including the image of a man lying on the lid, were irretrievably damaged.

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