Syrian archeologists have discovered an ancient glass jar containing an infant's ashes at one of the Mideast's most famous sites from Classical antiquity.
The discovery of the 2nd century A.D. jar amid the ruins of Palmyra was the first of its kind, shedding light on previously unknown funeral practices common at the time.
Archeological official Khalil Hariri says archeologists unearthed the jar from a newly discovered cemetery within Palmyra.
Hariri says the ashes inside the container, which measured 24 centimetres in height and 18 centimetres in diameter, revealed that the infant had been cremated.
He says the mission discovered pottery, furniture and lamps in the cemetery, as well as glass vials in which mourners put their tears.
Palmyra, located some 240 kilometres northeast of Syria's capital Damascus, was the centre of an Arab client state to the Roman empire and thrived on the caravan trades across the desert to Mesopotamia and Persia.
... actually, I think it was fairly common across the Empire at the time for infants to be cremated and buried in jars ... see, e.g.,C. J. Going, Miranda Green, Corinne Duhig, Alison Taylor, A Roman Child Burial with Animal Figurines and Pottery, from Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire (Brittania 1997),