An ‘exceptional’ sarcophagus dating back to the second century was found buried in France, the first time archeologists have found an unlooted tomb at the site of an ancient Roman city. Archeologists digging in Reim uncovered the undisturbed limestone sarcophagus in what was formerly known as Durocortorum, one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire, according to the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP). Inside the tomb, researchers found the remains of a 40-year-old woman believed to be a member of the Roman elite. She was buried with four oil lamps, a small mirror, an amber ring and two glass containers that likely held scented oils. Agnès Balmelle, assistant scientific and technical director at INRAP, described the sarcophagus as “quite exceptional,” noting that it was sealed with eight iron staples. The researchers used X-rays and an endoscopic camera to peek inside the sarcophagus to check its contents. The tomb weighs around 1,700 pounds, and given the seals, the researchers were confident that they were the first to discover the sarcophagus in an area plagued by destruction and looters. Reim is known to have held a necropolis, an ancient burial site that holds thousands of bodies. In the past 22 years, researchers have come across about 5,000 tombs in the city, the INRAP estimates. The ancient city, however, suffered extensive damage during World War I, which destroyed tombs and artifacts discovered by archeologists at the time. Grave robbers have also ransacked the area. Given the remarkable condition of the sarcophagus, researchers are hoping to discover more through DNA tests from the woman’s teeth, hoping to compare it with samples of other bodies found in the necropolis. The latest discovery is not the first time an ancient sarcophagus has been unearthed in France. Last year, archaeologists found an ancient lead sarcophagus under Notre Dame while the cathedral was under reconstruction. Archaeologists said the lead sarcophagus probably belonged to a high dignitary and said it could date back to the 14th century.
02 Kasım 2023 - 00:30
‘Exceptional’ 1,800-year-old sarcophagus found buried in France
An ‘exceptional’ sarcophagus dating back to the second century was found buried in the French city of Reim.
02 Kasım 2023 - 00:30