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Syrian Archaeologists: Tower Tombs Unearthed in Palmyra
Global Arab Network - - Ahmed Gamal
The Syrian Archaeological Expedition working at the site of Palmyra's northern defensive wall (Central Syria) has unearthed tower tombs  close to the wall.

Head of Palmyra Antiquities Department Walid Asa'ad said Wednesday the square-shaped burial has a two-slab decorated stone gate. The doorway leads to the roof of the burial place through stairs.

The burial site includes a yard with several chambers; each contains six multi-storey tower tombs, he added. Asa'ad indicated that the site was a typical Palmyra ancient burial place, adding that the tower tomb was re-used as a defensive tower in the 6th century.

Fragments of sculptures were unearthed at the site in addition to other archaeological monuments such as shelves, arches and pillars.

Palmyra's burials are unique. Situated outside the city walls, they show the changes in burial practice over the city's history and reflect Palmyran beliefs in the afterlife.

The vast necropolises of Palmyra contain three kinds of tombs: high towers used for multiple burials, underground burial complexes (hypogea), and temple tombs.

The tombs usually contain large burial chambers with long grave recesses in their walls to accommodate the bodies. These shafts were usually closed with decorated stone slabs. Sarcophagi were rare in Palmyra.

Archaeologists have found cooking equipment and food containers, which indicate that feasting, took place in the tombs. The presence of altars and incense burners also suggest that offerings were made

Palmyra, situated in central Syria, was one of the largest centres during the Roman Empire and an important stop on the caravan route to Persia. The ancient Palmyrian sculpture style is famous, and includes elaborately-executed funerary relieves. (SANA)

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