During the many excavation seasons one of the more frequently asked questions — by the excavators as well as by visitors — was why were no human remains found? Among the thousands of animal bones recovered in all areas excavated, only a single lower human jawbone was found together with an arrowhead in area S, in the western quarter of the city, far from the main events of the battle. We feel that the answer, while not completely satisfactory, lies in the supreme importance of the Jewish religious command for the burial of the dead. The Romans — possibly leaving a temporary garrison — would have allowed Jews to return and bury the dead, doing themselves a service at the same time in the way of sanitation. The Romans too would have collected their dead because of reasons of morale and cremated them — the standard Roman military practice. The dead, we reasoned, were buried in mass graves somewhere in or near the city, but we would find them only by sheer luck.

While the existence of a garrison remains a matter of speculation, the recent dramatic find of the mass burial in a cistern at Yodefat (Aviam, this volume) unexpectedly proved us right on most counts, while at the same time increasing the affinity of these two tragic sites.