One of the oldest mentions of Christ in France discovered near 150 Gallic tombs

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One hundred and fifty tombs dating from the middle of the 3rd to the 5th century, one of which could contain a well-preserved remains, were unearthed in Autun (Saône-et-Loire) during excavations of an important necropolis in northern Gaul , we learned on Friday from the site organizer.

Preventive research, started before the start of construction of a house, revealed a necropolis which hosted “among the oldest Christian burials in the northern half of Gaul“, Specified the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap), in charge of research.

Lead burials

The eight archaeologists notably found “one of the first mentions of Christ in Gaul, the inscription of Pektorios, dated from the 4th century“, Specifies the Institute. Among the 150 graves, they discovered a 1500-year-old sandstone sarcophagus “still airtight” who “could reveal a well preserved body“, Told AFP Nicolas Tisserand, co-responsible for the excavations, specifying that this tomb”will be open at the end»Of the site scheduled for August.

The other coffins are in “majority“In wood, but lead graves”much rarer»And formwork covered with tiles, were also revealed. Lead coffins are very uncommon in the northern half of France. Autun is one of the most important deposits, with around 40 known copies, including eight from the current excavation.

The research, carried out near the early Christian church of Saint-Pierre-l’Estrier, one of the oldest in Europe, Saint-Pierre-l’Estrier, also revealed the remains of six square stone mausoleums of 10 m2 “containing at least one grave“And traces of a”wooden building” Four imposing sandstone sarcophagi were discovered in perfect condition with their covers, lists Nicolas Tisserand. “No object was found because the deceased were buried in the strictest destitution according to the precept of the Christian religion“, He adds.

The paleochristian church of Saint-Pierre-l’Estrier. INRAP

«The research takes place on a 1,300 m² plot located in a large 3-hectare funerary site that has remained intact to the northeast of the ancient Roman city.“, Said the archaeologist Carole Fossurier who directs the site. Founded in the 1st century BC, the Roman city of Autun has been one of the high places of medieval Christianity since the end of Antiquity.

The research covers a plot of 1300 m². INRAP

See also – Italy: mosaics dating from the 3rd century discovered under vines

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