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archeology

In Spain, an ancient cemetery buried under a cemetery

Archeologists uncover 3,000-year-old necropolis beneath site of Visigoth graves in Huesca

An urn that revealed the existence of the cemetery dating back more than 2,000 years.
An urn that revealed the existence of the cemetery dating back more than 2,000 years. EFE

Spanish archeologists excavating a Visigoth necropolis in Sena, in the northeastern province of Huesca, have uncovered what they say is a burial site dating to the 10th century BCE and that was part of the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture.

The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns

Two urns and a lid were discovered in the graveyard. Hugo Chautón, the archeologist overseeing the excavation, says Urnfield culture spread from central Europe into northeastern Spain around 1,000 years BCE. The name comes from the Urnfield culture’s custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns, which were then buried.

“This culture represents the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron,” said Chautón, “and provides valuable information about burial practices, particularly the move from burying the dead to cremating them.”

Archeologists work on the Visigoth burial site in Sena (Huesca).
Archeologists work on the Visigoth burial site in Sena (Huesca). EFE

The team has been excavating a Visigoth burial site dating back to the fifth century of the Common Era. The Visigoths invaded the Iberian peninsula in the wake of the collapse of the Roman empire.

“We had indications that there was some kind of previous settlement nearby and this year we have established that it was just underneath the Visigoth necropolis,” said Chautón.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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