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Belt types, identity and social status in late antiquity: the belt set in Emona's grave 18

  • Špela Tomažinčič (a1)


Over the past decade, a number of rescue excavations along Slovenska street in Ljubljana have contributed to knowledge of the funerary landscape of Colonia Iulia Emona's N cemetery (fig. 1), one of its three burial grounds. Slovenska street roughly follows the line of the Roman cardo maximus, heading north towards Celeia. In front of the city gates, the ancient road was lined by grave monuments on both sides, a practice which continued throughout the life of the colony for almost 400 years. Since the first discovery of a burial in 1635, over 3,000 burials have been unearthed in Emona's N cemetery.

The grave under discussion here lies in the central part of the N cemetery, c.60 m west of the Roman road. Excavations (50 m2) were prompted in 2011 by the construction of underground waste-containers. They revealed a further 20 inhumation graves, including some with associated grave goods and coins dating to after A.D. 285, with most dating to the second half of the 4th c. Among them, grave 18 stands out for the quantity and significance of its grave goods (fig. 2). The grave pit (1.90 x 0.50 m, 0.25 m deep) was sub-rectangular, with vertical sides and a flat base. Pebbles were arranged to form an irregularly-shaped ‘wreath’ around the lower part of the skeleton. The poorly-preserved skeletal remains, oriented SSW–NNE, had been cut by a modern water pipe, leaving only the skull and fractured leg bones at either end.


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Journal of Roman Archaeology
  • ISSN: 1047-7594
  • EISSN: 2331-5709
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-roman-archaeology
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