Mediaeval tombs discovered in the heart of Rome.
Two tombs dating from the Middle Ages were unearthed during gas works on Via del Governo Vecchio, a street near Piazza Navona in central Rome, according to the city's archaeological superintendency.
The first tomb, partially destroyed by gas and sewage pipes, contained two human skeletons: one belonging to a woman (25-30 years) with a shell in her hand, and a man (30-40 years). Beside the female skeleton is a bronze coin dating from the late 11th and 12th centuries, and other fragments of shells.
The second tomb, particularly damaged by modern-day infrastructural works, comprises a cemetery area with dividing sections against a brickwork wall whose graves appear to date to Mediaeval times.
The scallop shells found next to the skeletons contain two holes suggesting their use as necklaces traditionally worn by the pilgrims in the Middle Ages. These elements lead experts to believe the find was a cemetery for pilgrims, located along the ancient Via Papalis pilgrimage route to St Peter's.
The burial chambers probably belonged to the mediaeval Church of S. Cecilia at Monte Giordano, whose origins date back to 1123 but which was demolished in the first half of the 17th century to make space for the Oratorio dei Filippini designed by Francesco Borromini.
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Mediaeval pilgrim tombs found below Rome street
Via del Governo Vecchio, 00186 Roma RM, Italy