Man Returns Stolen Second Temple Ossuary

Man contacts Antiquities Authority at his own initiative after realizing the item was an ossuary, saying he purchased it from an antiquities dealer some time ago.

A Tel Aviv resident returned a Second Temple period artifact to the Antiquities Authority after realizing the item was an ossuary.

The man, who works in the field of art and design, contacted the authority inspectors at his own initiative, saying he purchased the ossuary from an antiquities dealer some time ago. He told them he kept the ancient artifact in his bedroom, until one of his friends told him this was a small coffin used to store bones a year after the burial. He said he was repelled by the thought that he slept with a coffin in his room.

The authority's experts determined that the ossuary was fashioned by Jerusalem stonemasons in the years before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE. It has two carved rosettes and its original color was yellow. The experts believe it was stolen from a burial cave in or near Jerusalem, and sold to antiquities dealers.