The underground location of Eshmunit site
Blue arrow indicates the exact location, the yellow arrow shows the access through the ramp. Nowadays, a common road surrounding
Bterram's Church was constructed above the sanctuary. For illustration, the plan was drawn in the left panel.
The Phoenician tombs
The Phoenicians buried their dead in various types of tombs which were used for both
cremation or inhumation. The graves were designed for individuals or collective use.
Among the widely employed variety for individual burial was the fossa grave, a shallow
oblong pit excavated in the soil or Rock. Then comes the shaft graves consisting of a narrow
vertical well or rectangular shaft, which was typically enlarged at the base to accommodate
the burial. The final category of grave was the built or rock-cut underground chamber tomb
or hypogeum. The hypogea were either excavated or built and accessed by a shaft of a
stepped open-air ramp or dromos.
The tombs of the Phoenicians were, most usually, underground constructions, either
simple excavations in the rock, or subterranean chambers, built of hewn stone, at the
bottom of sloping passages, or perpendicular shafts, which gave access to them. The simpler
kinds bear a close resemblance to the sepulchres of the Jews. A chamber is opened in the
rock, in the sides of which are hollowed out, horizontally, a number of caverns or /loculi/,
each one intended to receive a corpse. If more space is needed, a passage is made from one
of the sides of the chamber to a certain distance, and then a second chamber is excavated,
and more /loculi/ are formed; and the process is repeated as often as necessary (1).
Inside-out view from Eshmunit.
More Insights about
According to Dr Aksam Merched, the architecture of the Eshmunit sanctuary in eight rooms could reveal the secret meaning of its name. The
word “Thamanyat” (Arabic), “Shmun” (Copt) or "Shmona" (Hebrew) means eight. Eshmunit could be variation of El shamaniat "the Eight"
referring to the eight rooms of the sanctuary.
Similarly, Al-Eshmunein which is an ancient town of Egypt known throughout history as an important center of worship means "Town of the
Eight". The ancient Greeks bestowed on it the name Hermopolis. Eight refers to the Ogdoad, which is one of the creation myths of ancient
Egypt and relates to the moon-god Djehuti (also known as Thaut, Thoth, Tehuti, etc…), who was worshipped in the same city. The Ogdoad
consists of four gods and four goddesses, and personify the primordial cosmic elements, which created the first human Djehuti, the father of
humanity. It was believed that the first sunrise emerged over the place and created the world then after.
Eshmunit the Eight?
Many questions remain unanswered concerning the
possible connections, if any, between these ancient
religious and cultural civilizations and their
relationship to this mysterious site.
|The eight gods of the Ogdoad