Workers doing renovations at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy have uncovered what seems to be the remains of a mass grave from the fifth-century AD.
Archaeologists announced last week that they have found over sixty skeletons. Carlotta Cianferoni, director of Florence’s National Archaeological Museum, explains that “The burials were made in a hurry and with the clear purpose of using less possible space. Bodies were laid side by side in opposite directions, feet against heads, while small, empty spaces were fitted with the bodies of children.”
Andrea Pessina, the head of archaeology for the regional government of Tuscany, added “They were all buried during the same period, so it was probably an epidemic that killed them.”
Coins that were found with the remains are dated to the late fourth and early fifth centuries. “The coins provide a rather accurate temporal reference, but of course we need to wait the results of the anthropological analysis and radiocarbon dating,” Cianferoni added.
The bodies have been uncovered over the last few months as renovations are being done at gallery, which is home to some of the world’s most famous pieces of Renaissance artwork. “We had to do some work to build the foundations of the new lifts for the museum and we came across this discovery,” said Alessandra Marino, an official in charge of the project.