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Ancient Greek necropolis discovered during roadworks in Sicily


Workers installing cables under a road in the Sicilian town of Gela have uncovered part of an ancient Greek burial site.

Ancient Greek necropolis discovered during roadworks in Sicily
Credit: Regione Sicilia
Residents of Via Di Bartolo, in Gela, Sicily, had expected disrruption from roadworks this month as workers installed fibre optic cables under the street. But instead they've ended up with an archaeological dig taking place outside their front doors, after the Open Fiber cable company uncovered part of an ancient necropolis dating back to the 7th century BC.


Finds so far along the small strip of road include a ceramic water jug which contained the bones of a newborn baby, and parts of a large animal skeleton, according to local authorities.

The finds were reportedly made by Open Fiber's in-house archaeologist, Gianluca Cala, who had been on call during the installation work in case of such discoveries, which are not that unusual in Sicily.

Ancient Greek necropolis discovered during roadworks in Sicily
Credit: Regione Sicilia
A sarcophagus containing an intact skeleton thought to be from the same period was discovered earlier this month in Gela."Two weeks after the last important discovery, in what is certainly a Greek necropolis, Gela gives us other extraordinary testimonies of the past” the Sicilian regional government stated in a press release.


The area where the discoveries were made is believed to be part of a necropolis first excavated at the beginning of the twentieth century by Paolo Orsi, according to the La Sicilia newspaper.

"Once again Gela is confirmed to be a part of Sicily that can tell us an important part of our ancient history. Two important archaeological finds, a short distance from each other, show that great attention is paid to the Gela area, which I believe to be a precious treasure chest,” said the President of the Sicilian Region Nello Musumeci.

Ancient Greek necropolis discovered during roadworks in Sicily
Credit: Regione Sicilia
Open Fiber said it would be willing to enlarge the excavation area to help historians and archaeologists uncover more ancient finds in Gela, La Sicilia wrote.

Gela is believed to be the site of one of the earliest settlements of Greeks, from Rhodes and Crete.

"The newly-uncovered graves are seen as particularly important by historians," the Sicilian regional government stated, "as they're thought to hold the remains of the first settlers along with examples of the fine ceramics they brought with them."

Source: The Local [November 28, 2019]

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