Late Roman Cemetery Excavated In Croatia’s Split

In Salona, ​​the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, a rescue dig, which began in 2015, is coming to an end. The Split Archaeological Museum has recently published some of the new findings from this location, which houses a late Roman-era cemetery.

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In addition to several stone-built tombs from late antiquity, many burials in amphorae were found, a common burial practice throughout the Roman Empire at the time that typically reserved for poorer citizens.

“When we started excavating at the end of 2015, we found a large number of graves of all types at this location,” says head of the project and senior curator Ema Višić-Ljubić.

“There are twelve stone-built tombs, half with two chambers and half with one. The upper parts of the tombs have long since been destroyed. Then, there are numerous amphorae in which bodies and tegulae (roof tiles) were laid.

The tegulae, in which the children were mostly buried, had a flat surface, and the body was covered with tiles, like the roof of a house.”

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“The children were buried in individual amphorae, while at least two amphorae were used to bury the adults. The amphorae were mostly halved in length, with one side laid on the ground and used as a base on which the body of the deceased was laid, and the other served as a cover,” says Ema Višić-Ljubić.

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A number of artefacts have been recovered from the graves, including bronze bracelets, belt buckles made of silver, bronze and iron, bronze boxes, decorative beads, a large number of iron nails, two glass bottles and a large number of bronze coins.

The finds date the burials from the 2nd to the 6th century, though the majority are mostly from the 4th to the 6th century.

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