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2,000-Year-Old Necropolis Found in Southern France

Thursday, October 17, 2019

France Roman NecropolisNARBONNE, FRANCE—According to an Art Daily report, a team of researchers from France's National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) are investigating a 2,100-year-old necropolis in southern France that was buried under nearly 10 feet of silt by flooding from a branch of the Aude River. Located near Narbo Martius, the capital and trade center of the first Roman colony in Gaul, the well-preserved cemetery is thought to hold an estimated 1,000 burials. Different burial practices have been detected in different areas of the necropolis, although most of the burials are cremations. Some of the human remains were accompanied by glass or ceramic perfume and wine vessels, lamps, charred fruit including dates and figs, and personal ornaments and hygiene items. The researchers also found that one-third of the graves they have excavated were equipped with ceramic libation conduits, or amphorae, which allowed the bereaved to send offerings directly into the grave. Cups and shells for pouring liquid into the conduits have also been recovered. Chemical analysis may reveal what sorts of offerings were poured into the conduits. To read about wall paintings uncovered in a Roman house underneath modern Arles, go to "France's Roman Heritage."

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