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Man finds Roman burial chambers in his back garden
By thinkSPAIN Team Wed, Sep 4, 2019
A SEVILLA man having his house extended has unearthed an almost completely intact Roman funerary chamber in his garden.
José Avilés – known to friends and family as 'Pepe' – who lives in the town of Carmona was stunned when the ancient graveyard structure surfaced whilst workmen were lowering the ground level and demolishing part of a broken wall to make way for his new extension.
It has been described as a hole of around a metre square through which a stone arch is clearly visible, giving access to a second chamber with a domed roof.
As soon as he found it, Pepe called Carmona town hall's archaeological department, and they sent a specialist out to see whether what he had found really was of historical relevance.
The specialist found eight niches with the chamber, six of which contained ceramic urns housing the ashes of the deceased.
Some were made of glass and protected by a lead outer coating, and three of them were engraved with what may have been the names of those inside.
Remains of cremated bones, plus some of the deceaseds' chattels, and funerary offerings including vases, dishes, and glass and ceramic cups have been uncovered in the chambers.
Asked how he feels at having lived with an underground graveyard in his back garden, Pepe says: “I'm more worried about certain living people than about dead ones.”
In fact, he says it is a source of pride for him and his family to have a Roman structure in a near perfect state of conservation on his land.
He now intends to alter the plans for his house extension so as to incorporate the ancient structure as a 'feature'.
Pepe and the family want to keep it accessible and if possible, restore it, but this will depend upon whether they are allowed to do so, how much it will cost and whether the town, provincial or regional heritage authorities foot the bill or provide a grant.
They also, however, would like to be able to open up the site to historians and archaeologists for further study, but say their intention to do so will depend upon 'institutional procedures and requirements', and the end cost, if any.
Photograph: @HAPPY21025349 on Twitter
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