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Jason’s Tomb

Jason’s Tomb is a Second Temple Period rock-cut tomb dating to the the Hasmonean dynasty.

It was discovered in Rehavia neighborhood in Jerusalem on Alfasi Street in 1956.

While doing construction in the area, workers detonated a charge in order to clear away rocks for a new apartment building revealing the ancient tomb.

Jason’s Tomb consists of a courtyard and a single Doric column decorating the entrance to the burial chamber.

The tomb is topped with a reconstructed pyramid-shaped roof which was known as the nefesh.

Nefesh means soul and it was believed that this is where the soul was housed when it left the body.

Among the carved inscriptions in Greek and Aramaic is one that laments the deceased Jason:

“A powerful lament make for Jason, son of P…..(my brother) peace …… who hast built thyself a tomb, Elder rest in peace.”

Another inscription states that Jason sailed to the coast of Egypt.

Inside the cave are eight burial niches. To make room for additional burials the bones were later removed to the charnel space in front.

Some theories Jason was naval commander due to charcoal drawing of two warships discovered in the cave.

Others believe he is the the High Priest Jason who wrote the second book of Maccabees because of the grandeur of the tomb when it was built.

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