A more than 1,800-year old sealed sarcophagus was discovered by archaeologists in Alba Iulia (394 km north-west of Bucharest) at the site where the city’s water treatment plant will be built.
Spokesperson for the Alba Iulia National Museum of the Union Liviu Zgarciu said that „this is the only intact sarcophagus discovered in the area, since most of them were broken by treasure hunters.”
The sarcophagus was unsealed and a man’s skeleton was found inside. The archaeologists will research to see if it also contains a funerary inventory.
Works on the archaeological site kicked off half a year ago, and two marble sarcophagi dating from the second or third centuries, the only of the kind found on the territory of former Roman Dacia, were very soon uncovered. Another eight sarcophagi were found near the one sealed with lime mortar, but they had all been robbed.
„The site is one of Alba Iulia’s most important in recent years, both by the constructions uncovered: structures, walls, buildings, and by the large amount of tiny pieces found, their numbers running into the hundreds, which will enter the heritage of the National Museum of the Union,” said archaeologist George Bounegru.
The findings date mainly from the third century.
Two necropolises were so far discovered in the former city of Apulum; the one at the site of the treatment plant suggests this is where the cemetery of the Aurelia Apulensis colony might have been.
The Roman fortress of Apulum was the largest city in Roman Dacia; its construction started under Emperor Hadrian, probably in 125 AD. For over one century without interruption Apulum served as headquarters for Legion XIII Gemina.