Ancient necropolis unearthed in Syria

December 18th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Damascus (Syria), Dec 18 (ANI): A research team from Udine University in Italy has uncovered a vast, ancient necropolis near the Syrian oasis of Palmyra.

The team, headed by Daniele Morandi Bonacossi of Udine University, believes the burial site dates from the second half of the third millennium BC.

The necropolis comprises around least 30 large burial mounds near Palmyra, some 200km northeast of Damascus in Syria.

This is the first evidence that an area of semi-desert outside the oasis was occupied during the early Bronze Age,” said Morandi Bonacossi. Future excavations of the burial mounds will undoubtedly reveal information of crucial importance, he added.

The team of archaeologists, topographers, physical anthropologists and geophysicists also discovered a stretch of an old Roman road, which once linked Palmyra with western Syria and was marked with at least 11 milestones along the way.

The stones all bear Latin inscriptions with the name of the Emperor Aurelius, who quashed a rebellion led by the Palmyran queen Zenobia in AD 272.

The archaeologists also unearthed a Roman staging post, or mansio.

The ancient building had been perfectly preserved over the course of the centuries by a heavy layer of desert sand.

The team from Udine University made their discoveries during their tenth annual excavation in central Syria, which wrapped up at the end of November.

The necropolis is the latest in a string of dazzling finds by the team.

Efforts have chiefly focused on the ancient Syrian capital of Qatna, northeast of modern-day Homs.

Since starting work there in 1999, the team has uncovered more than 1,500 square metres of the towns acropolis dating back to the Middle and Late Bronze Age. (ANI)

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