Tuesday, June 18, 2013

“Burial Customs, Death on the Roman Empire’s
 Eastern Frontier.”
Matthew Brunwasser, Archaeology magazine, (Sept. -Oct. 2012), Pages 24-27.
Tomb Of the Scipios in use from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD

This is an article having to do with burial practices through 3 centuries in a small village where Romans soldiers were granted land upon leaving the legions 0n the first century AD. This area was around a small village in northern Macedonia by the name of Scupi (gives its name to Skopje the present capitol of the Republic of Macedonia). It seems that the influx of Roman veterans was a good thing for the village because within a few years the village had expanded to the extent that in AD 85 the town received the honor of being named a Roman colony; “Colonia Flavia Scupinorum.” Eventually this colony became the center of administration, religous, cultural, and economic center of the entire area .

The area has been under excavation since 1966, and there has been a great concentration on grave sites, some 4,000 of them which have yielded some 10,000 artifacts. Many items have been recovered having to do with daily living such as pottery vases, lamps, cremation jars, perfume jars, earrings, and figurines. There were both kinds of burials found here, inhumation, as well as cremation that was found in the necropolis that was opened.

The older Roman graves were virtually all cremations but graves found in third and fourth centuries AD had skeletons in them. Lence Jovanova is the archaeologist in charge of the necropolis excavations, is a member of the City Museum of Skopje. She is looking forward to excavating the remaining 5,000 to 10,000 Roman graves remaining in the southeast necropolis and then to she additionally hopes to create an archaeological park on this site, as soon as the recovery of the city walls and buildings is completed.

There is also a Large Mass Grave mystery which has been uncovered along the edge of one of the necropolis’. Approximately one hundred-eighty adult bodies had been thrown into a shallow grave, many with the heads removed, and with hands bound behind their backs. Neither Jovanova nor Phil Freeman, an archaeologist with the University of Liverpool, see this as a battle site, but rather as a massacre. This site can probably be credited to the period of instability of the empire and the uprising of various groups and clans that sought to bring their favorite members to the fore in political or economic periods of crisis.

Pictured in the article are the necropolis just outside the town of Scupi, a ceramic -face pot, a first or second century oil lamp, inhumation and cremation burials found in the necropolis, ceramic jars for cremation burials, and the extensive mystery burial area with remains exposed.

Respectfully Submitted;

Marcus Audens

No comments:

Post a Comment