Ancient accessorized skeletons discovered in building works in Rome

During extensive building works carried out to make a solar energy plant in Rome, 67 skeletons in 57 ornate tombs were unexpectedly discovered, CNN reported on January 2. The remains were thought to have been from between the second and fourth centuries.

Adding to the astonishing discovery, the skeletons were found wearing golden jewlery and expensive footwear. It was reported that the tombs had also been designed to resemble the homes of the deceased. Archaeologists told CNN that where multiple shared a tomb, a familial link could be established.

While Tarquinia, an area north of Rome, is known for archaeological treasures, CNN reported that authorities had been surprised by the findings. 

More of the extravagant findings include silver with amber and engraved initials, precious stones, terracotta pottery, coins, shiny glasses, amulets, golden necklaces and golden earrings.

The significance of the find

“We found several skeletons still wearing their expensive stockings and shoes,” Emanuele Giannini, lead excavation archaeologist at the site, told CNN. “All these riches and the fact that the bones show no sign of stress or physical labor, (leads us to believe) these weren’t local farmers, but upper-crust members of Roman families coming from cities.”

A pendant with the sign of Luna, Roman goddess of the moon. (credit: EMIL ALADJEM/IAA)

“We did have a faint idea that some treasure could lie there, as historical sources mentioned the location of a postal station for travelers near the site,” explained Giannini. “Many Romans would stop (here) for the night to eat and rest, but the magnitude of the discovery is unmatched.”

“In addition to the necropolis, the investigations have revealed part of an agricultural division, whose historical importance will be highlighted during the conference.”

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