The Armstrong Institute of Biblical Archaeology reports that the Israeli Antiquities Authority has excavated the tomb of a young woman, who they speculate was an elite courtesan or “hetairai.” Some excerpts read:
“Excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Hebron Road, in southern Jerusalem, have yielded the discovery of an ancient burial cave. Dating from the late fourth century to early third century b.c.e., this cave sheds light on the rare evidence associated with the Hellenistic period in Jerusalem.
“Remains of a cremated young woman were found in the cave. According to Dr. Guy Stiebel from the Department of Archaeology and the Ancient Near East at Tel Aviv University, “[T]his is, in fact, the earliest evidence in Israel of cremation in the Hellenistic period.” Together with the burned remains were a number of bent iron nails, as well as—most surprisingly—a bronze folding mirror, in such a state of preservation that “it looked as if it was made yesterday,” said Liat Oz, director of the excavations…
“The researchers believe that the woman was a traveling courtesan (or hetaira) to a high-ranking Hellenistic military official, as opposed to a married woman. This is because married Greek women rarely left the home or joined their husbands on military campaigns. Further, ‘[t]he fact that there was no settlement near the burial cave, seemingly indicates that this is the tomb of a Greek woman … buried on the roadside,’ according to the press release.”
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Thanks to Soror Amy for the tip!