In 2001, between Via 1° Maggio and Via Rimembranze, just outside Porta Romana, in the course of the demolition of the Ex-Agricultural Consortium, a vast necropolis was brought to light. Extensive archaeological research took place in an area of 184 m2 and 52 graves of various types emerged. The stratigraphy and analysis kits established that the oldest tombs date back to the late fourth century. B.C. and the site continued to be popular until the second century. A.D.
This is a very important discovery because it testifies to an age of transition between Hellenism and Romanization and allows us to consider closely the changes that occurred with the arrival of Rome and the rise of new burial styles suited to new social realities. The tipping tombs returned the richest finds, belonging to members of the local elite. The caissons were comprised of a rectangular pit covered with large and thick slabs of local limestone, within which up to seven individuals con be laid to rest. Blocks of the same stone covered the pit on the outside, arranged in three superimposed rows, to form a sort of tombstone which indicated the presence of burial grounds.
The tipping tombs were flanked by graves devoid of coating, often dug close to the walls of the caissons and later monolithic sarcophagi appeared, small in size, cut from a single block of silt travertine and dug with the cover plate. The Roman era brought with it new transformations: the old depositions were plundered, chests and sarcophagi were reused, behind or inside of which urns were laid. The skeletal remains found in the man-made chests and sarcophagi attest that these ancient people of Umbria practiced the rites of burial and incineration: in the tombs, next to the remains of the deceased, the burned bones of individuals cremated were mixed with objects, such as vases for cosmetics still containing objects for body care and residues of paint, plaster ointment of unusual shapes, ointment in alabaster from Egypt, tableware, and vases for libations. Tomb 52 has provided some of the richest findings: bronze vases, mirrors, ivory, jewelry, weapons.
These objects were status symbols, indicating the individual’s membership in a family of high rank in addition to revealing the social stratification and economic level reached by the “Amerina” community in light of the changes that occurred in central Italy between the ‘Hellenistic and the advance of Romanization. The faunal remains unearthed increase the attractiveness that the necropolis at the former Consortium exercises, for the slice of daily life that it offers. Bones of cattle, pigs, sheep, as well as chickens, ducks, horses and rare game, residues of offers consumed at the funeral banquet, testify to the vitality of the economic activities of subsistence aside from trade and the wealth of the fauna of the area, of ancient agricultural, pastoral and hunting vocation, as well as a producer of lumber in a landscape characterized by the abundance of forests.
A dog with a bronze bell around its neck, buried next to a child was found perfectly preserved. It is now visible in a glass case on the ground floor of the Museum, next to the other rich materials belonging to the kits of the tombs of this necropolis.