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Ancient Roman cemetery discovered in Tunisia 'Only one' in North African country

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« on: May 17, 2011, 09:51:39 pm »

Ancient Roman cemetery discovered in Tunisia
'Only one' in North African country, say experts

(ANSA) - Tunis, May 5 - An ancient Roman cemetery has been uncovered by archeologists in Tunisia south of the capital, Tunis. The cemetery was found in Lamta, near the coastal town of Monastir, 160 km south of the capital, and is believed to be the only one of its kind discovered in the North African country. Tunisia has a rich history that dates back to the 12th century BC and until recent political unrest the country's ancient ruins from the Punic era and the Roman Empire attracted tourists from all over the world.
Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno on Thursday pledged to promote the country's tourism and support its fledgling democracy after the overthrow of the country's president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali during political upheaval in January. "We should do everything possible to support the economy and tourism and the push for democracy in Tunisia," Alemanno said. The latest archeological treasure was discovered by a team of experts led by Ne'jib Belazreg, director of archeological sites at Lamta and Bekalta. The cemetery was found near funerary rooms linked to the Punic civilisation based in the Tunisian city of Carthage which was conquered by the Romans in the Punic Wars that ended in 146 BC. The find confirmed previous studies that showed that Romans preferred cremation until the third century A.D and preserved the ashes in terracotta urns.
Tunisia has a number of ancient Roman sites including Dougga in the country's north.
In 1997 Dougga was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO who described it as "the best-preserved small Roman town in North Africa". Mayor Alemanno met representatives from the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) at the Town Hall in the Italian capital. Luigi Scardaone, from the Italian Workers Union accompanied the Tunisian officials. "As Europeans we must take action to save Tunisia's tourism which represents more than 60% of the country's GDP and supports 400,000 families," he said.
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