During construction work along a city street in Cadiz, a city on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, four skeletons dating to the late Roman period were discovered. In addition, an olive press from the 17th century was also found in downtown Cadiz. The city is the oldest continuously occupied city in Europe, being founded by Phoenician traders 3,100 years ago in Andalucia.
A team led by archaeologist Francisco Javier Ramírez identified the human remains, which appear to be male. Little else was found with the burials, such as a sarcophagus. However, burial shrouds were found with the skeletons. The skeletons apparently date to the 3rd or 4th century A.D., based on ceramics found at the site. According to Ramirez, “isolated burials are unusual,” while noting that the “bodies were found almost completely intact and in shrouds, thus their good state of preservation but without any funerary objects, which can mean that this was a period of decline.” The possibility that there may be a larger necropolis at the site has not yet been dismissed.
The skeletons and associated artifacts have been taken to the archaeological museum in Cadiz for study and preservation. In a city as ancient as Cadiz, the discovery of ancient human remains is not unusual. Near the site of the recent discovery is the Gadir archeological site, where visitors can see the layout of the streets, homes and tools dating to the 9th century BC that illustrate the life of pioneering Phoenician traders.