French archaeologists have found the skeleton of an approximately one-year-old baby, buried with the puppy in a wooden coffin, apparently built with 80-centimeter-long nails. The burial is thought to have been made at the beginning of the first century. Items buried with the child indicate that he belonged to a distinguished family.
He carried out archaeological research and rescue excavations ahead of a development project to be built at the Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport site in France. In the works that have been going on since November of last year, 7.4 acres of land has been excavated so far.
During the excavations carried out in the area within the borders of Gaul during the Roman period, a baby tomb with very interesting findings was discovered.
The boy, believed to be about one year old, was found buried in a wooden coffin, 80 cm long, made with nails and marked with a decorative iron tag, during Roman rule in the early first century. The coffin was placed in a 2 meter by 1 meter tomb and buried with about 20 objects, including a series of terracotta vases and glass vessels thought to contain oil and medicine, half a pig, three ham and other pieces of pork, and two headless chickens.
According to the news in The Guardian.com; French archaeologists say the remains of a 2,000-year-old baby buried with his pet are a rare find.
Archaeologists also said they found a decorative copper pin used to attach a shroud and a 30cm iron ring attached to a bent metal rod believed to be a toy. The end of the stick was slid between the legs of a puppy placed at the feet of the deceased outside the coffin. The young animal wore a bronze ornamented collar and a small bell.
Excavations also found a milk tooth set on a broken piece of shell, specifically belonging to an older child who could be the baby’s sibling.
Adults were often cremated in Roman Gaul, which now includes parts of modern-day France, Belgium and neighboring countries, but children were often buried on family property, suggesting a sizable villa was located nearby.
“The items accompanying this decedent are absolutely outstanding, both in quantity and quality,” said the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP). “Such a plethora of crockery and chopped artifacts, and the personal items that followed the boy to his grave, underline the privileged rank to which his family belongs. A dog’s relationship with a small child is well documented in the context of funerals, but it is the collar and bell that is out of the ordinary here. ”
It is reported to be the oldest and most important find of a child’s grave in France. An ancient tomb believed to date from the Roman conquest of Gaul a few decades ago contained an array of weapons suggesting the invader was a soldier.
Laurence Lautier, responsible for the Clermont-Ferrand excavation, said the find was “unusual because of the abundance of vases and votives.” In this type of tomb we usually find one or two pots placed on the foot. There are around 20 and many food offerings here. ”
He told AFP that the number of objects in the tomb suggested “a certain social status… clearly a very wealthy family” and that the vases and flower pots would include “the food and drink portion at the child’s funeral feast.”
The 3.5-hectare (7.4-acre) excavation has discarded a variety of objects from the iron age to antiquity to the middle ages, as well as more modern artifacts.
Tests are being conducted to determine what they hold on the vessels found in the tomb. Excavations are expected to continue until February.