Necropoli Punica

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Necropoli Punica dates to between the city’s founding in 734 BCE as ‘Ziz’ (changed to Pánormos by the Greeks) in 734.  The Necopolis on Corso Calatafimi has an excellent if somewhat technical narrative panel.   You can walk into the dig and one level down into several burial sites.  The site is behind the Norman Palace, placing it between the now diverted rivers Papimeto and Kemonia Rivers.  (‘Punic’ refers to the Carthaginians, who were Phoenician in origin). 

 

The panels discuss the ancient development of the city.  The earliest description of the site dates to the 10th century, by an Arabic geographer.  Archaeological digs show the first area settled to be nearby the Palazzo Normani.  It then goes through the eastward expansion in the 6th c. BCE.  They even discovered the unit of measure used in the layout –  the cubit, 54 centimetes/21.3 inches. 

Human remains were either inhumanted or cremated.  Some remains were found in calcarenite (a type of limestone) slabs, simple trenches, others were laid out in underground tombs.  They show you examples in the dig, including that of a 5-year-old girl.  There are decorative motifs linked to the Egyptians, and an oinochoe, a large jar used to mix wine.   

I should have brought my Indiana Jones hat – I felt the buzz going down these stairs: 

 

 

Watercolor self portrait in leather hat

 

 

 

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