Discovery of a painted tomb dating from the second century BC to Cuma (Naples)


Naples – Priscilla Munzi, researcher at the Centre Jean Bérard (Cnrs – École française de Rome) and Jean-Pierre Brun, professor at the Collège de France, have been working with their team since 2001 at the foot of the fortress on which the acropolis of the ancient city of Cuma stands, to bring to light the ancient Cuma necropolis. Their latest discovery in these days consists of a painted tomb dating from the second century BC, exceptionally preserved and whose paintings immortalize a banquet scene. Twice the size of Pompeii, the city of Cuma is located 25 kilometers west of the city of Naples, on the Tyrrhenian coast opposite the island of Ischia and within the current Archaeological Park of the Phlegraean Fields. Historical sources consider it as the oldest Greek colony in the West, founded by Greeks from Evia in the mid-eighth century BC.

Exceptional and important figurative decorations are present in the tomb, on the lunette of the entrance to the funeral chamber are still visible a naked male figure holding a silver jug in his right hand and a chalice in his left, with a table and some vases on the sides, while, on the side walls, you can see scenes of landscape with a floral frieze at the top. The intrados of the vault is yellow, while the walls below the frame and the three funerary beds are painted red. Unfortunately, the tomb has already been visited in advance by several clandestine excavators, but several objects pertinent to the funerary outfit have been found that are sufficient to confirm its dating, including, as confirmed by Priscilla Munzi, fragments of worked bone pertinent to a wooden box and alabaster containers. The excavation was carried out thanks to the financial support of the Ministère de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères, the École française de Rome and the Fondation du Collège de France. The research is carried out within the framework of an excavation and research concession granted by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and in collaboration with the Campi Flegrei Archaeological Park.



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