Necropolis with 4th Century Skeletons Found Inside Giant Cubes

Necropolis (Necropolis) is the name given to the area where cemeteries and mass graves are located in archaeological cities.

Researchers have unearthed the remains of the facade of the Radošević Palace, a 17th-century baroque-style building on the island of Hvar, off the Dalmatian coast. The tombs are exceptionally well preserved, and many contain so-called grave goods such as small ceramic jugs, coins and utensils, experts said.

Excavation also revealed part of a wall, thought to be from a late 5th-century settlement and complete with a city gate, and another from the 2nd century. According to experts, embedding in ceramic jars is common and is considered by some to be reserved for infants and children. However, the age of death of the remains buried under the territory of the Radošević Palace has not yet been determined.

Two months of excavations, led by the archaeological consultancy firm Kantharos, took place ahead of a new library and reading room being built on the palace site. In a total area of 65 square meters, the team found 20 tombs, some containing the remains of more than one person.

The tombs, typical of late antique tombs, include those made of amphorae (long, two-handled pottery) and other pottery, structures made of roof tiles, and a stone tomb containing the bones of 12 people.

“What particularly highlights this necropolis is its extraordinary preservation, as well as the very valuable and complete burial finds,” the researchers said in a statement. ‘Most of the graves are decorated with one or more pottery jugs and oil lamps, glass bottles and vessels, money and other small utensils.’

The findings point to ‘completely new understandings of local/regional late antique pottery production, as well as trade links through documented imports, some of which were first recorded in the Adriatic’.

One of the latest finds at the site, buried in the lowest excavated layers, was a wall that researchers believe was built in the 2nd century. “Of all traces of late ancient life ever found in Hvar, this is truly the most important and richest site,” the team said.

They added that the excavation of the Radošević Palace ‘vividly demonstrates all the archaeological splendor of the burial finds and gives us, for now, the most detailed information on the funerary customs of that period’.

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