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Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina


Excavation work for the construction of a residential building in Messina has brought to light a section of the larger Hellenistic-Roman necropolis of Orti della Maddalena dating from the second century BC.


Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina

Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina
Credit: Sicilian Region Department of Cultural Heritage
and Sicilian Identity



The necropolis, which is part of a larger, stratified area documented by systematic research carried out over the last twenty years by the Messina Superintendency throughout the area.


Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina

Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina
Credit: Sicilian Region Department of Cultural Heritage
and Sicilian Identity

"This discovery," says Mirella Vinci, Superintendent of Messina, "is extraordinarily important because of the condition of the graves and because it contributes to enriching our knowledge of the extent and types of burial in the southern necropolis of the ancient city of Messina." 


Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina

Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina
Credit: Sicilian Region Department of Cultural Heritage
and Sicilian Identity



The excavation, which began in January 2020, brought to light seven burials that were located at a depth of 90 centimetres. The burials are 'fossa terragna' burials, i.e. long, narrow pits dug into the ground, in which the skeletons of individuals lying on their backs with their heads facing north-east and their arms stretched along their sides, as well as cremations and a burial in a brick box were found, all still intact.


Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina

Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina
Credit: Sicilian Region Department of Cultural Heritage
and Sicilian Identity

The graves also yielded funerary objects consisting mainly of fusiform earthenware ointment jars, as well as a 'megarian' bowl and a small oil lamp with an incense spout, making it possible to identify the period of use of the necropolis in the second century BC.


Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina

Part of 2nd century BC necropolis unearthed at building site in Sicily's Messina
Credit: Sicilian Region Department of Cultural Heritage
and Sicilian Identity

"This is an important find," says the councillor for cultural heritage and Sicilian identity, "which comes just a few weeks after a similar discovery in Marsala. Once again, tombs that were hitherto untouched represent the richness of our territory and the importance of excavations as an element in the reconstruction of our history."


Source: Sicilian Region Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity [trsl. TANN; April 22, 2021]



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