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Medieval cemetery with at least 20 bodies found in Lisbon

At least 20 burials from the medieval period were found by a team of archaeologists in the parish of Santa Maria Maior, in Lisbon.

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
"At the moment we already have 20 [bodies], but, possibly, even more will appear, because we have only excavated the first level of the cemetery", said Vanessa Filipe, archaeologist and coordinator of the project tasked with installing ecopoints by the Lisbon Municipal Chamber.

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
"The cemetery was discovered on 26 June, in the context of a project in which a team of archaeologists carried out a survey and diagnosis of the areas before the installation of the ecopoints", she explained.

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
"The necropolis dates to medieval times, from the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries", Vanessa Filipe said.

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
"The cemetery is probably associated with a hermitage belonging to the Marquises of Cascais and the church walls would be in an area near to where the bodies were buried", the project's coordinator added.

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
"The necropolis is fully Christian, since all the bodies were buried with the head towards the west and the feet to the east, so that they will rise in the direction of the rising sun", Vanessa Filipe explained, adding that "there are other similar cemeteries in Lisbon."

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
"The excavated burials are homogeneous, they all belong to adults, except for one child", says forensic anthropologist Sónia Ferro, adding that the body of the child "is the only burial with evidence of some more serious pathology, consistent with a tuberculose".

Credit: Tiago Petinga/Lusa
The researcher explained that "the deceased were likely poor people from a nearby neighbourhood, because they were buried directly in the earth", adding that "only one individual has a coin in his hand, which was normal in medieval times, to pay for the journey to the other side".

The excavation is expected to last three years.

Source: CMJornal [July 26, 2018]


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