The family tomb as a physical claim to the patrimony, the attributed powers of the dead and the prospect of post-mortem veneration made the cult of the dead an integral aspect of the Judahite and Israelite society. Over 850 burials from throughout the southern Levant are examined to illustrate the Judahite form of burial and its development. Vessels for foods and liquids were of paramount importance in the afterlife, followed by jewellery with its protective powers. The cult of the dead began to be an unacceptable feature of the Jerusalem Yahwistic cult in the late eighth to seventh century BCE. This change of attitude was precipitated by the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel and the consequent theological response.