The skeleton of a monk in chains was found in Jerusalem: the discovery

A body in chains, discovered after centuries, which hides great mysteries: it could be the plot of a film but, instead, it is pure truth. Indeed, a team of archaeologists at work within the site of Khirbat el-Masaniin the West Bank, came across a very, very peculiar skeleton.

The remains, found where previously stood a three-apse church from the Byzantine erawould be around 1,500 years old and raise questions about not only burial habits, but life in general, which must have taken place within an extremely complex complex.

The site of Khirbat el-Masani and its mysteries

So, let’s go in order. Before talking about the skeleton, it should be noted that Khirbat el-Masani is a archaeological site of great importance, which has attracted the attention of several historians in recent years. Specifically, it has caused many scholars to try to understand the its role in the West Bank. The most plausible hypothesis, according to experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority, is that the sacred building was part of a very large monastery, rigorously organized, and the fact that it is located very close to Jerusalem would seem to confirm this.

However, some mysteries remain: according to the remains found at Khirbat el-Masani, the church/monastery must have been a place of pilgrimage, because within the complex there was also an inn for travelers arriving from far away and, moreover, it also included a rest home. Now, the discovery of the skeleton in chains suggests something self-managed, with highly rigid rules.

The discovery of the skeleton in chains a Khirbat el-Masani

Find the skeleton it wasn’t easy: it took years of research. In fact, the entire structure had been dug out of the rock and built with finely worked stones and limestone. Moreover, the remains of the body in chains were an unexpected discovery, given that the goal of the work of the archaeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority was to bring to light as many parts of the Khirbat el-Masani complex.

Once these remains were found, scholars were amazed. Meanwhile, they were buried in one small cist tomb (an ancient burial consisting of a roughly put together stone box) close to two small closed cells, similar to niches, which must have more or less stood close to the central apse of the church. Then, around the neck, hands and feet of the skeleton are chains formed by a series of iron rings weighing tens of kilograms. Finally, her robes reveal who it was a monk. But why was he buried like this?

The skeleton in chains and its meaning

What archaeologists are sure of is that the monk lived inside the church, in one condition of total isolation. The position of the chains suggests that he still had a minimum freedom of movement, probably aimed at making him eat and carry out his physiological needs. As for the reasons why he was chained, there can be two solutions: the first is that he had committed some kind of crime (perhaps to the detriment of a pilgrim?), while the second is much more likely.

Indeed, in the ancient monasteries of Jerusalemsome monks decided to practice asceticism, isolating himself and moving away from any kind of stimulus and pleasure in search of redemption from sin or simply to go in search of the deepest spirituality. Some forms of extreme asceticism included the practice of chaining oneself, self-inflicted pain, and voluntary suffering. The presence of the chains even in the tomb would have been, in this case, a form of respect towards the monk who had lived his life in this way. What is the truth? We will probably never know.

The skeleton of a monk in chains was found in Jerusalem: the discovery