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Huge Necropolis Unearthed In Sicily - UPDATES

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2008, 07:18:48 pm »




             








The skeleton of an infant holds a guttus, similar to a modern-day baby bottle.

The remains of children, along with those of soldiers, were found in more than 10,000 mass graves archaeologists discovered in September 2008.

"Thanks to the big number of burials, we will gather precious information about funerary rituals in Himera: the way they took care of the bodies, preserved the remains, and perpetuated the memory of the dead. Such rituals reflect social structure," said Clemente Marconi, a professor of Greek art and archaeology at New York University.



—Photograph courtesy

Stefano Vassallo

/Archaeological Department
of the Cultural Superintendence
of Palermo
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 07:20:24 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2008, 07:21:51 pm »




               








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Archaeologists have discovered silver coins dating back to the fifth century B.C. among human remains in thousands of graves in the ancient Greek city of Himera in Italy.

Founded in 648 B.C., Himera was a rich seaport and trading colony. The city was situated on the northern coast of Sicily, a few miles from the Phoenician outpost of Solunto.

"Himera had a privileged role in commercial exchanges between Phoenicians, Greeks, and Etruscans," New York University archaeologist Marconi said.



—Photograph courtesy

Stefano Vassallo

/Archaeological Department
of the Cultural Superintendence
of Palermo
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 07:23:16 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2008, 07:24:56 pm »




               








Himera's necropolis spreads outside of the ancient city walls on the Italian island of Sicily.

An archaeological dig in 2008 revealed thousands of mass graves, ancient amphorae and other artifacts offering clues to how this civilization was structured.

The ancient burial ground was uncovered during the construction of a railway extension.

"The remains of Himera's buildings had been known and studied for a long time, and we knew there should be some graves. We didn't expect so many graves", said lead archaeologist Vassallo, who works for the Italian province of Palermo.




http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/12/photogalleries/Italy-Greek-necropolis-photos/index.html
—Photograph courtesy

Stefano Vassallo

/Archaeological Department
of the Cultural Superintendence
of Palermo
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 07:28:00 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2008, 07:41:24 pm »









                                 Ancient Mass Graves of Soldiers, Babies Found in Italy






Maria Cristina Valsecchi
in Rome
for National Geographic News
December 17, 2008

More than 10,000 graves containing ancient amphorae, "baby bottles," and the bodies of soldiers who fought the Carthaginians were found near the ancient Greek colony of Himera, in Italy, archaeologists announced recently. (See photos.)

"It's probably the largest Greek necropolis in Sicily," said Stefano Vassallo, the lead archaeologist of the team that made the discoveries, in September.

The ancient burial ground was uncovered during the construction of a railway extension.

"The remains of Himera's buildings had been known and studied for a long time, and we knew there should be some graves. We didn't expect so many graves", said Vassallo, who works for the Italian province of Palermo's government.

"Each [mass grave] contains from 15 to 25 skeletons. They were all young healthy men and they all died a violent death. Some of the skeletons have broken skulls and in some cases we found the tips of the arrows that killed them," Vassallo said.

He thinks the human remains are from soldiers who died fighting the Carthaginians in a famous 480 B.C. battle described by Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus.

He adds that they still don't know the extent of the necropolis or how many graves it contains.
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2008, 07:42:45 pm »









A Rich Town and Two Bloody Battles



Founded in 648 B.C. by Greek settlers, Himera was a rich seaport trading colony. The city was situated on the northern coast of Sicily, a few miles from the Phoenician outpost of Solunto.

"Himera had a privileged role in commercial exchanges between Phoenicians, Greeks, and Etruscans," said Clemente Marconi, professor of Greek art and archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

In 480 B.C. Carthage, or present-day Tunisia, sent an army against Himera. "Greeks and Carthaginians fought a bloody battle in the plain under the town walls, right on the burial ground," Vassallo said. "People from Himera won."

In 409 B.C., Carthage waged a new war against Himera, conquered, and razed the town. "All the people were slaughtered or deported and the colony never rose again," Vassallo said.
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« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2008, 07:44:57 pm »










Remains of Adults and Babies

 

Archaeologists at Himera also unearthed the skeletons of many newborn babies in some of the mass graves.

"Infant mortality was very high at the times," Vassallo said. "We found the tiny skeletons placed inside funerary amphorae, like in a womb, alongside small terracotta vases called guttus, with spouts like present-day feeding bottles."

Researchers will examine the skeletons in an effort to gather information about the population's health, lifestyle, and eating habits.

"People from Himera were very tall, about 175 centimeters [69 inches]," Vassallo said. "Unusual for the times."

New York University's Marconi said he thinks the discovery is extremely important.

"Thanks to the big number of burials, we will gather precious information about funerary rituals in Himera: the way they took care of the bodies, preserved the remains, and perpetuated the memory of the dead. Such rituals reflect social structure," Marconi said.

Finds will be restored and put on display in a new museum to be built in the nearby town of Termini Imerese. The Palermo government is working out a plan to create a national archaeological park to protect the area, Vassallo said.
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« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2008, 07:55:00 pm »

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« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2008, 07:56:39 pm »

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« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2008, 07:58:03 pm »

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« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2008, 07:59:15 pm »

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« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2008, 08:02:01 pm »





               

                The Antiquarium (Museum) is visible in the background
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« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2008, 09:55:44 pm »

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