Roman-era sarcophagus unearthed in 2,000-year-old cemetery in Gaza
Speaking to The New Arab, Tariq al-Aff, the ministry's spokesperson said, "Our teams discovered the sarcophagus, made out of lead, last Tuesday. It belonged to an important figure of that era."
"We have not opened the tomb as we placed it in a protective wooden container for further study by Palestinian and international experts," he added.
In December last year, the Hamas authorities announced the discovery of a 2,000 year-old cemetery that contained at least 60 graves.
According to al-Aff, nine more graves were found at the site by Hamas teams, in coordination with the supervised French team.
He explained that the cemetery is located on the site of an ancient seaport dating to the Greek and Roman eras, making it a key location for archaeological research.
Gaza, a region rich in antiquities, has long been an important geographical spot of trade for several civilizations, spanning ancient Egyptians and the Philistines described in the Bible to the Roman Empire and the Crusaders.
The ruins discovered in Gaza include the remains of a siege led by Alexander the Great and relics from the Mongol invasion in the 13th century.
Local authorities regularly call on international organisations to help or steer research.