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Roman domus, medieval cemetery discovered in Lucca, Tuscany


A necropolis dating from the 6th century and a Roman domus from the 2nd century AD came to light in the historic centre of Lucca (Tuscany), in the Piazza Santa Maria Corteorlandini. The discovery took place only a few days after six burials dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries were found in the same area.

Roman domus, medieval cemetery discovered in Lucca, Tuscany
La Gazzetta di Lucca photo
"It's a truly exceptional find," explained Dr. Elisabetta Abela, the archaeologist who coordinated the excavation.

Following the discovery of the first six burials, connected to the nearby church built in 1188, a necropolis emerged in the area where 30 burials were found, 22 of which date back to the sixth century AD.

The discovery is expected to shed more light on the Lombard period of the city.

Roman domus, medieval cemetery discovered in Lucca, Tuscany
La Gazzetta di Lucca photo
The continuation of the excavations has in fact revealed that the necropolis rises above a previous Roman domus of the second century, consisting of four rooms, delimited by walls 80 cm high and covered with plaster painted in "Pompeian blue and red".

One of the rooms, with a brick floor, appears to have been part of a thermal bath area.

The preservation of the domus and, in particular, the floors made of opus signinum (a building technique named after the town of Signia, today known as Segni), which uses cocciopesto (a mixture of fragments of tiles and amphorae, kneaded and wrought with lime) to protect against moisture, is also a remarkable feature of the discovery. The marble entrance threshold is still well preserved, with the door casements clearly visible.

Roman domus, medieval cemetery discovered in Lucca, Tuscany
La Gazzetta di Lucca photo
Work in the area had begun due to the planned building by the Sistema Ambiente of a new 'eco-island' behind the church.

Councillor Francesco Raspini, who said he was "personally very happy with the discovery", defended the choices of the local administration. "If it had not been for excavations, this treasure would not have come to light" he said, stressing that "the choice of location for vanishing 'eco-islands' is always determined by the results of the work of archaeologists."

This sentiment was reiterated by the Director of Sistema Ambiente, engineer Roberto Enrico Paolini. "We are excited," he said, pointing out that "an alternative will be found for the 'eco-island'"

Roman domus, medieval cemetery discovered in Lucca, Tuscany
La Gazzetta di Lucca photo
It now remains to be clarified what the future of the area will be. Excavation is expected to conclude on Monday and the area will be paved over once again.

Mayor Alessandro Tambellini and the Councillor for Culture Stefano Ragghianti explained that a study will be made on how to enhance the find.

Meanwhile, archaeologists are convinced that new surprises will emerge from future excavations.

Source: La Gazzetta di Lucca [September 21, 2017]
TANN

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