Jesus-era burial boxes obtained by Israeli police

Ancient burial boxes were confiscated by Israeli police Friday from suspected thieves. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery.

( Israeli authorities on Monday unveiled 11 burial boxes dating back to the time of Jesus. Police gained possession of the boxes, which are said to include the remains of two 2,000-year-old noblemen, after raiding suspected illegal antiquities dealers at midnight last Friday.

In Israel, all antiquities are considered property of the state. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the boxes had been "stolen from a cave" near Jerusalem.

The burial boxes date back to the Second Temple Period, 515 B.C. to 70 A.D. During that time, the deceased were laid out in a cave for one year before being stored in boxes.

Since the boxes are from an era when Jerusalem was very religiously and culturally diverse, "we can learn from each ossuary about a different aspect of language, art, and burial practice," said Stephen Pfann, president of the University of the Holy Land, according to CBS News.

Posted on March 31, 2014 .