The sarcophagus contained the bodies of a young man and a child. / sur

Roman necropolis found below Dry Port site in Antequera

The remains include a sarcophagus of which very few have been found in Spain before

ANTONIO J. ROMERO MALAGA.

Excavation works as part of the construction of the Dry Port in Antequera have discovered a Roman necropolis dating back to between the 1st and 2nd centuries, including a lead sarcophagus containing the remains of a young man and a child. Only a few coffins of this type have been found before in Spain.

Desiderio Vaquerizo Gil, a professor of archaeology at Cordoba university, has described this find as “exceptional”. Inside the sarcophagus were 15 glass jars of ointment, two glass jars (one containing traces of wine and the other olive oil), tokens from the game Ludus Latrunculorum (meaning Game of Thieves), a coin, glass beads, marbles and a lantern. Tokens from the game were often buried with the deceased to wish them good luck in their new life.

Awaiting DNA results

Archaeologists Cristina Chacón and Ana Arcas, with anthropologist Inés Pérez-Guzmán, gave a talk at the Antequera Museum last week to explain what had been found at this important site, and they said they are waiting for DNA results on four bodies found inside the burial chamber, including the young man and the boy. The other two were lying on top of the tomb.

The funerary pieces will be put on display in the museum, and the sarcophagus will be in the Roman Room. The site has now been sealed off and protected. There are 54 tombs in all, and one – number 307 - is exceptional, the archaeologists said. Now, they are hoping that more items from the past will come to light during the works at the Dry Port.