Italy TravelAncient Tomb Uncovered Near Naples

Ancient Tomb Uncovered Near Naples
Published on Sunday, October 14, 2018 by

Archaeologists have unearthed another ancient tomb in the town of Cumae, a Greek settlement near Naples. The newly discovered tomb dates to the 2nd century BC and is decorated with murals, unlike most other Cumaean tombs at the time, which were simply painted red and white without images. ( The murals are believed to illustrate a banquet scene, as well as an image of a naked servant holding a jug and a vase.)

The fact that this tomb is decorated more elaborately than the others suggests that its occupants were societal elites with old-fashioned taste, as other Cumaean tombs that feature frescoed murals with images date to the 4th and 3rd century BC. The tomb has three beds, suggesting that three people were buried there.

Like other ancient tombs in Cumae and Italy, this tomb fell victim to grave robbing in the 19th century and is now empty. However, archaeologists recovered sufficient human remains and pieces of funerary offerings, such as dice, perfume vases, and boxes, to confirm that it was built in the 2nd century BC.

Archaeologists Priscilla Munzi of the École Française de Rome’s Centre Jean Bérard, and Jean-Pierre Brun of the Collège de France, have been excavating Cumae since 2001 and discovered the tomb. They and others have excavated about 400 tombs from the Cumae necropolis, which was likely used until early medieval times.

The oldest Greek colony in mainland Europe, Cumae was founded in the 8th century BC and was taken over by the Romans in 338 BC. It was a coastal town west of Naples and Pompeii, though it was not affected by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried Pompeii in 79 AD. The town was the home of Cumaean Sybil, a legendary Greek priestess and prophetess who appears in Virgil’s Aeneid and predicted the founding of Rome.

By Kathy McCabe

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