Gazan unearths ancient graves in vegetable patch

Abdel-Karim Cafran, a Palestinian resident of Beit Hanun, holds a pottery fragment at a freshly-discovered cemetery in the garden of his house in the town in the northern Gaza Strip, on Jan. 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 January 2018
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Gazan unearths ancient graves in vegetable patch

BEIT HANUN: When Abdul Karim Al-Kafarnah went to check the rainwater gushing down a hole in his garden he was in for quite a shock — hidden steps led him down to an ancient grave complex.
The 24-year-old lives in the Beit Hanoun district of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli border which suffered intensive bombardment during the 2014 conflict between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants.
The family home was destroyed and the surrounding plots heavily churned up, leaving extensive craters in the ground.
The flash-flooding earlier this week led him to one particular spot, where, on removing a large stone, he found a staircase leading four meters (13 feet) down into an ancient tomb.
“I discovered the place where the water was falling in,” he told AFP.
“I lifted the stone and a stale smell came out.”
As he descended he found a total of nine graves, with piles of bones in some of them — seemingly containing more than one body each. He also found votive lamps and other pottery.
Gaza-based archaeologist Ayman Hassouna said the finds suggested the grave dated back to the Roman era, 2,000 years ago.
“The burial and excavation methods in this tomb date it back to the Roman period but it may have continued in use into the early Byzantine period (5th to 7th centuries AD),” he said.
Professor Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina, said such tombs were relatively common in the Holy Land between 100 BC and 100 AD, and again between 300 and 500 AD.
“Typically, these were family tombs, or sometimes larger tomb complexes could be divided up among families,” she told AFP.
Gaza was a prosperous port in the Roman and early Byzantine periods and boasted many ancient monuments that have since been lost.


Hero dog saves Indian family in flood-hit Kerala

Indian residents look at houses destroyed by flood waters at Kannappankundu in Kozhikode, in the Indian state of Kerala on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Hero dog saves Indian family in flood-hit Kerala

  • Kerala, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season
  • More than a million foreign tourists visited Kerala last year

NEW DELHI: A family in the flood-ravaged Indian state of Kerala narrowly escaped death after their pet dog woke them up moments before a landslide destroyed their home, local media reported Monday.
Mohanan P. and his family were sleeping at home in the mountainous Idukki district when their pet dog started barking raucously at around 3:00 am, waking the household.
“That’s when we realized something was wrong. I went out to see and we had to just rush out of the house,” Mohanan told Indian news network NDTV.
No sooner had the family rushed out when the landslide plowed down a nearby hill and demolished their home.
The family, dog in tow, have since moved to a government-run relief camp nearby.
Flash floods triggered by the annual monsoon rains have pounded the southern tourist hotspot in the past few days, killing 39 people and leaving 100,000 more homeless so far.