Intact Roman-Era Sarcophagus Discovered in France

France Roman SarcophagusREIMS, FRANCE—Live Science reports that an intact Roman sarcophagus was discovered in an ancient necropolis in northeastern France. The sarcophagus has been dated to the second century A.D., when the nearby city of Reims was known as Durocortorum. The lid alone, which had been sealed with eight iron clasps, is estimated to weigh about 1,700 pounds. In order to determine what is inside the sarcophagus, researchers from France’s National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) X-rayed it and employed an endoscopic camera to catch a glimpse of the contents, including a human skeleton, a small mirror, an amber ring, a comb, four oil lamps, and two glass vials that may have held scented oils. Agnès Balmelle of INRAP said that the remains likely belonged to an elite woman, who was probably around 40 years old at the time of her death. DNA samples may reveal if she was related to others buried in the necropolis. This is the first intact ancient burial, out of the thousands investigated since the mid-nineteenth century, to be found in the region, she added. To read about a rare, intact cage cup found in a sarcophagus uncovered in France’s ancient Roman city of Augustodunum, go to “Before and After.”


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