What is Sarcophagus?

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What is Sarcophagus? Blog Image


Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip recently found dozens of ancient graves, including two Sarcophagus made of lead, in a cemetery dating back about 2,000 years to the Roman Empire.

About Sarcophagus:

  • It is an above-ground stone container for a coffin or dead body that often is often decorated with art, inscriptions, and carvings.
  • The word sarcophagus comes from the Greek "sarx" meaning "flesh," and "phagien" meaning "to eat," so that sarcophagus literally translates as "eater of flesh."
  • First used in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, the sarcophagus gradually became popular throughout the ancient world. 
  • It carried over through the later years of European society, often used for high status members of the clergy, government, or aristocracy.
  • Features:
    • They differ in detail from one culture to another. 
    • They are almost always made of stone, limestone being the most popular, but sometimes of granite, sandstone, or marble.
    • They were usually made by being carved, decorated, or constructed ornately.
    • Some were built to be freestanding above ground, as a part of an elaborate tomb or tombs. Others were made for burial, or were placed in crypts.
  • Archaeological Significance:
    • Sarcophagi are important artifacts for archaeologists and historians because they provide insights into the art, culture, and beliefs of the societies that created them.
    • The carvings and inscriptions on sarcophagi often contain valuable historical information.
  • Example: The most famous Egyptian sarcophagus is perhaps the golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun.


Q1) Who was King Tutankhamun?

King Tutankhamun, often referred to simply as King Tut, was an Egyptian pharaoh who reigned during the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom period of ancient Egypt. He is one of the most famous pharaohs in Egyptian history, largely due to the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter.

Source: Archaeologists in Gaza unearth large cemetery containing rare lead sarcophagi