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Culture & Society | Global Arab Network
First-of-their-Kind Tombs Unearthed in Palmyra
Global Arab Network - - Sarah Khan
Palmyra_syria
The Syrian-Japanese excavation mission discovered a number of individual tombs with skeletons of children inside, and the hole of the grave inside the tomb, the first of its kind to be discovered in Palmyra.

The mission also unearthed an earthenware jar with a skeleton of an infant inside.

In a statement, Excavation Director at Palmyra Ruins Directorate said these discoveries date back to the Byzantine era at the time of renovating Palmyra wall in the 6th century A.D.

He indicated that the tomb under work is made of square building, each side of which is 11 meters, and has a gate leading into an exposed yard surrounded by rooms.

Japanese Head of the mission Prof. Saito said the mission work is one of the outcomes of the signed agreement between General Directorate of Ruins and Museums and the Japanese Nara Research Institute for Archeology.

Palmyra (Arabic: Tadmor‎) was in ancient times an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus[1] and 120 km southwest of the Euphrates. It has long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert ad was known as the Bride of the Desert. The earliest documented reference to the city by its Semitic name Tadmor, Tadmur or Tudmur (which means "the town that repels" in Amorite and "the indomitable town" in Aramaic.[2]) is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari.[3]

Though the ancient site fell into disuse after the 16th century, it is still known as Tadmor in Arabic, and there is a newer town next to the ruins of the same name. The Palmyrenes constructed a series of large-scale monuments containing funerary art such as limestone slabs with human busts representing the deceased.

In the mid-first century, Palmyra, a wealthy and elegant city located along the caravan routes linking Persia with the Mediterranean ports of Roman Syria and Phoenicia, came under Roman control. During the following period of great prosperity, the Aramaean and Arab inhabitants of Palmyra adopted customs and modes of dress from both the Parthian world to the east and the Graeco-Roman west.

Tadmor is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Second Book of Chronicles 8:4) as a desert city built (or fortified) by the King Solomon of Judea, the son of David.

In the First Book of Kings (9:18) is mentioned the city of תמר Tamor or Tamar, also built by Solomon. But it is traditionally read (see Qere) as Tadmor, and several citations in the tractates of the Talmud and of the Midrash refer to that city in the Syrian desert (sometimes interchanging the letters "d" and "t" - "Tatmor" instead of "Tadmor"). Some modern scholars wrote that it could refer to a place near the Dead Sea.[citation needed]

Tadmor is also mentioned as built by Solomon in Flavius Josephus Antiquities of the Jews - Book VIII, along with the Greek name of Palmyra.

Tadmor is the name of Palmyra in modern Hebrew. The exact etymology of the name "Palmyra" in this case is unknown, although some scholars believe it was related to the palm trees in the area. Others, however, believe it may have come out of an incorrect translation of the name "Tadmor" (cf. Colledge, Seyrig, Starcky, and others).

The city was first mentioned in the archives of Mari in the 2nd millennium BC. It was another trading city in the extensive trade network that linked Mesopotamia and northern Syria. Palmyra is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles (8:4)

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