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Roman sarcophagus discovered in Cologne


Archaeologists have found a red sandstone Roman sarcophagus from the early fourth century during excavations on a school site in Cologne. "It has been cracked open - probably grave robbers were at work there in the past," said the head of the Roman-Germanic Museum, Marcus Trier. "In the process," he said, "the skeleton's bones had also been jumbled. Nevertheless, the robbers had not stolen all the grave goods."


Roman sarcophagus discovered in Cologne
Credit: U. Karas/Römisch-Germanisches Museum

During their excavation work in July, the archaeologists discovered eight vessels made of ceramics and glass as well as bronze fittings in a niche, which probably came from a wooden box that is no longer preserved. 




"At the moment we cannot say whether a woman or a man was buried here," says the director of the Roman-Germanic Museum, Prof. Dr. Marcus Trier. “The wooden box could indicate a woman. Based on the grave goods and the sarcophagus, we assume that it was a wealthy person."


Roman sarcophagus discovered in Cologne
Credit: U. Karas/Römisch-Germanisches Museum

At the beginning of the fourth century, the place where the tomb was found was still outside the city. It was a troubled time, attacks by Germans on the Roman cities increased. There was also unrest within the empire. 




“That's why people withdrew behind the city wall,” explains Prof. Trier. "The dead were then buried in the abandoned suburbs."


Roman sarcophagus discovered in Cologne
Credit: U. Karas/Römisch-Germanisches Museum

The sarcophagus is now being restored, he said, and may later be placed in the extension to the high school on whose grounds the burial site is located.


Source: Bild [trsl. TANN; December 04, 2020]



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