Roman cemetery found near Serbian mammoth graves

Only a week after uncovering the remains of five or six mammoth skeletons at a dig at Viminacium, a site in eastern Serbia, archaeologists have stumbled across human graves containing golden objects. 

The archaeologists excavate the Roman era graves they have uncovered while working on their excavations of the mammoths who died thousands of years earlier [Credit: AP]
Miomir Korac, director of the Archeological Project Viminacium, which is named after the Roman provincial capital along the Danube River, said that they were surprised to find them only a few hundred metres from the mammoths bones. 

"We found golden objects in the graves - beads and coins of fine craftsmanship," Korac said. 

A few hundred metres away, archaeologists have come across a premise with a rectangular base whose original purpose has yet to be determined. 

Korac said it was possible that this part of Viminacium featured workshops that served as a kind of industrial complex. 

"It is obvious that life flourished outside the city limits of Viminacium, and now we can say that the city's territory exceeded 450 hectares," Korac said. 

Graves from the the Roman era unearthed close to a spot where the remains of the woolly mammoths were found in Serbia [Credit: AP]
Accroding to Korac, the remains of lime have also been found in the newly found graves. A plague broke out in the city during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and Korac believes that the lime was probably used as a disinfectant. 

Viminacium is located in what used to be the delta of the prehistoric Morava River, on the banks of what used to be the Pannonian Sea. 

Serbian archaeologists hailed a world-class find, after uncovering the remains of five or six new mammoth skeletons at the dig. 

A total of seven skeletons have been found so far at the location, including one found back in 2009, found at Drmno. 

Experts believe that either some sort of catastrophe struck a herd, killing all the mammoths in the same place, or the first mammoths' "graveyard" has indeed been found. 

Source: Balkan Insight [June 25, 2012]

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