Tomb H-2 was excavated during the 1982 field season at Abila of the Decapolis. Dr. John J. Davis supervised the excavation of the soil fill above the sealing stones and the fill upon the steps descending into the burial chamber. The interior of the tomb was excavated by Neathery Batsell Fuller, Michael Fuller, Kate McGregor, and Russ Adams.

Entrance fill contained Late Roman and Early Byzantine sherds

Interior fill contained Early Roman lamps and pottery.
First use in approximately 40 BC
Last used in approximately AD 100 - 135

6 regularly cut loculi radiating from 3 walls

Locus summaries

2001 - washed in sherds and non-diagnostic bones

2002 - washed in sherds and non-diagnostic bones

2003 -

2004 - rib fragments (probably not human) and tooth fragment (non-human)

2005 - (floor) 3 individuals.
A = 5 to 10 years old
B = male 15 to 20 years old
C = female 33 to 34 years old
** 2 small glass vial (typically called tear flask), lamp (reg. 107), coffin nails, metal funnel.
*** Osteoarthritic lipping on 1 thorasic and 2 lumbar vertebrae.

2006 (loculus 2 = South-East) - one adult

2007 (floor) - 3 individuals.
A = newborn
B = subadult
C = adult (not enough for age or sex)
** Artifacts: glass fragment, iron fragment, copper fragment

2008 (loculus 1) - 3 individuals
A = 5 to 8 year old child
B = 10 to 14 year old subadult
C = male 17 to 25 years old
** artifacts: iron nail, bronze pin, coffin nails, clay lamp (reg. no. 109)

2009 (loculus 3 = East-South) - 2 individuals
A = subadult 5 to 8 years old
B = 1 adult (not enough for age or sex)
** Artifacts: the basalt braizer, a ceramic jug, juglet, coffin braces, an alabaster vase, ceramic bowl, a bronze juglet, and a ribbed glass dish.

2010 (loculus 4 = East-North) - one adult
** artifacts: 2 glass vials (tear flasks), 2 pottery unguentaria [all near the head situated in the back form the loculus]

2011 (loculus 6 = North-West) - 3 individuals
A = adult woman
B = subadult 3 to 7 years old
C = subadult 12 years old
** Artifacts: 3 tanagra figurines [two in the front of the loculus and one in the back]

2013 (loculus 5 = North-East) - adult
** bone tool, copper fragments, iron coffin nails
*** burial was placed feet first into loculi while all other burials placed head first



2016 (loculus 1 South-West) - 2 individuals
A = subadult approximately 5 years old
C = female approximately 21 years old

No square depression (sump) on floor

Wood and bone were poorly preserved
Two lamp niches on the east wall
One lamp niche on the south wall
- it contained 2 in situ lamps!

Grave offerings
3 tanagra style figurines (all in loculus 6)
- Dionysius
- Terpsichore
- Athena
glass tear vials
glass ribbed bowl
small funerary bowls
an alabaster vase (possible incense container)
a bone tool
a fibula (metal pen to close a cape)
copper coffin braces
No coins
No preserved animal bones for food offerings
a complete basalt brazier (in loculus 3)

Top plan of Tomb H-2 showing loculi.

Two unguentarium from tomb H-2.

Muse tanagra style figurine from locus 2011.

Muse on display at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.

Closeup of the Muse on display in St. Louis.

Dionysios tanagra style figurine from locus 2011.

Tanagra style figurine of a helmeted rider - I originally identified as Athena but I am open to other identifications such as Apollo.

Broken alabaster jar from locus 2009. This is a beehive-shaped, South Arabian alabaster jar associated with the transport of frankincense and myrrh. A parallel piece comes from the site of Ein Egra along the Nabataean trade route in the Negev where it belonged to the 2nd century BC occupation (Tali Erickson-Gini presentation "Early Nabatean Trade Routes in the Negev" at ASOR Annual Meeting in Boulder, Colorado 2001). For further information see: J. Hassell, "Alabaster beehive-shaped vessels from the Arabian peninsula", Arabian Archaeology and. Epigraphy VIII (2), (1997), p. 245.

Broken clay oil lamp from in tomb H-2, locus 2005.

Roman clay unguentarium from H2010.4

Roman small amphoriskos (Fuller 1987:Figure 65) from locus 2009.3, reg. no. 21

View of the untouched artifacts in loculus 3. Basalt brazier is on the right side as well as the broken glass bowl.

Basalt brazier found in loculus 3.

Ribbed glass bowl found in loculus 3.

Small bronze cup.

Small bronze fibula.

Imitation Delphi-form lamp in tomb H-2, locus 2012, reg. no. 4 (Fuller 1987: Figure 113a).

The earliest lamps from both tombs H-1 and H-2 are Late Hellenistic or Early Roman and are local variants of the Delphi lamp form.

Volute lamp shaped like a bird (Fuller 1987:Figure 100b) from locus 2011.6

Italian import lamp (Fuller 1987:Figure 110a) from locus 2012, reg. no. 14.

Thin walled (Brittle Ware) import bowl (Fuller 1987:62b) from Locus 2009.3, reg. no. 13.

Thin walled (Brittle Ware) import bowl (Fuller 1987:62b) from Locus 2009.3, reg. no. 13.

Thin walled import ware bowl (Fuller 1987: Figure 62c) from locus 2009.3, reg. no. 10.

Small Roman Period piriform unguentarium.

Sketchmap of bones and artifacts in locus 2006.

Sketchmap of bones and artifacts in locus 2008.

Sketchmap of bones and artifacts in locus 2009.

Sketchmap of bones and artifacts in locus 2010.

Sketchmap of bones and artifacts in locus 2011.

Sketchmap of bones and artifacts in locus 2013.

Imitation Delphi-form lamp (reg. no. 4) and Italian Import lamp (reg. no 14) found in situ in a lamp nice (locus 2012). The Delphi-form lamp is in the foreground.

Roman figurine from nearby tomb H-1, excavated in 1982.