понедельник, 18 ноября 2019 г.

Messapian tomb with man and child unearthed at archaeological site of Roca

The researchers of the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Salento will study the skeletons recently brought to light in the archaeological site of Roca, near the Grotta della Poesia, located on the Adriatic coast in the Apulian province of Lecce, Southern Italy.

Messapian tomb with man and child unearthed at archaeological site of Roca
Credit: Universita del Salento
The skeletons are those of an adult male and a child buried together around the middle of the fifth century BC. The date of the burial was determined by the grave goods that were found and, in particular, by a columned krater placed on the right side of the adult's skeleton.

The discovery of this burial, of a rather common type in the archaeological site of Roca, was made in 2008 as part of the excavation campaign then under way under the direction of Professor Cosimo Pagliara (who passed away in 2015), when about 20 Messapian tombs were discovered.

The site is still being investigated with the permission of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism, under the direction of Professor Riccardo Guglielmino, professor of Aegean Civilization at UniSalento.

In 2008, after the usual scientific documentation of the discovery, the grave goods were taken but the skeletons, for technical and climatic reasons, were covered with green fabric sunshades, the tomb filled with earth and the three roof slabs repositioned.

Messapian tomb with man and child unearthed at archaeological site of Roca
Credit: Universita del Salento

At the reopening, a few days ago, the conditions of conservation were perfect, and the recovery of the bones was therefore undertaken. From a preliminary anthropological analysis, the adult individual is male, age at death 35-40 years, the other skeleton is a child of about 6 years.

"We had for some months resumed the study of burials found in 2008, so we decided to complete the excavation in this year", explains Professor Pier Francesco Fabbri, Professor of Physical Anthropology at UniSalento, who now directs the excavations.

"Studying this case will be interesting, since it is rather rare to find two individuals buried at the same time. It will be a matter of subjecting the skeletons to in-depth anthropological and radiological analysis to determine the exact age of death. Through DNA analysis we could also establish if the smaller skeleton belonged to a child, which is not possible to ascertain from the osteological analysis. Several of our students are involved both in the excavation of the medieval necropolis of Roca and in particular in that of this Messapian tomb, and various aspects of the finding will become the subject of graduation theses."

Source: Universita del Salento [trsl. TANN, November 10, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

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