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Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia


After nearly a year of excavations on Gosposvetska Street in Ljubljana and with the re-opening deadline fast approaching, the archaeologists have stumbled upon yet another surprise as they uncovered an early-Christian church in what was a cemetery on the northern outskirts of the Roman outpost Emona.

Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Credit: Matija Lukič/MMC RTV SLO
Knowing that there was an ancient cemetery south of what is now Slovenska Street, archaeologists expected to find graves and a few sarcophagi, but the finds exceeded their expectations.

More than 350 human remains were found in the area between Kersnikova and Slovenska streets, as well as over 40 sarcophagi, a church and a tomb.

Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Credit: Matija Lukič/MMC RTV SLO
The cemetery is dated to the 4th and 5th century, a time when the then Roman Emona already had a flourishing Christian community.

The archaeologists also found some artefacts in the graves, a common practice of the Romans, which had gradually been abolished at the time this cemetery was used, archaeologist Andrej Gaspari told the STA.

Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Credit: Matija Lukič/MMC RTV SLO
One of the most impressive grave artefacts was a blue glass bowl inscribed with of a toast in Greek. It was found in the sarcophagus of an adult woman, a high-ranking member of the community, likely a nun.

A piece of cloth with golden thread was also found next to the skeleton in what seems to be the most prominent grave in this part of the cemetery.

Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Credit: Matija Lukič/MMC RTV SLO
The most recent find, the church, was adorned with frescos and a mosaic. It is located just outside the walls of Figovec restaurant on Gosposvetska Street.

The high density of graves and the church "indicate that this was truly a special part [of the cemetery], tied closely to the ancient-Christian development of the city," said Gaspari.

Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Late Roman necropolis with more than 350 buried skeletons discovered in Slovenia
Credit: Matija Lukič/MMC RTV SLO
The archaeologists have made several suggestions on how to present the finds. These could be indicated in the pavement or with a model, according to Gaspari.

Gosposvetska Street has been closed for renovation since August 2017 and is to reopen for traffic in mid-July.

Source: The Slovenia Times [July 07, 2018]

TANN

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