Important find in Croatia: a Roman chariot with horses!

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A truly unique discovery took place in eastern Croatia. Archaeologists from the city museum of Vinkovci and the Zagreb Institute of Archeology began digging in 2017 at the Stari Jankovci site (Vukovar Srijem).
They found a mound, about forty meters in diameter and one meter high, inside which there was a large funeral chamber containing a chariot dating back to the Roman Empire and the remains of the tow horses. Nothing so important has ever been found before!
The custom of burying under mounds of earth was a ritual used by the very wealthy families of Pannonia during the Roman Empire. These particularly wealthy people played an important role in the administrative, social and economic life of that region.
The family to which the burial belonged had chosen that place, along one of the most important arteries that connected the Apennine peninsula with Pannonia, the Balkans and Asia Minor. This choice allowed those who passed through that street to observe this burial mound and ascertain the social status, the level of comfort and the importance of the family.
The curator of the Vankovci Museum, Boris Kratofil, says that the discovery of the cart with the wheels and the skeletons of the horses used to tow the cart, represents the most significant discovery because it is the first time that this type of wagon has been found in a place of such an ancient burial.
The archaeological area investigated dates back presumably to the third century AD. , says Kratofil and is one of the first examples of such a burial ritual.
The research has produced a rich documentation that will be examined and will constitute a valuable contribution to the study of the routes of the ancient Romans; everything will then be rebuilt and permanently preserved in the city museum of Vinkovci.
The discovery, precisely because of its uniqueness, has attracted the interest of many scholars from all over the country, because it is the first time that such a complex funeral ritual has been thoroughly investigated and documented.
Now the conservation and restoration processes will begin as well as the study of all that has been found.
Kratofil hopes that in a few years, after the analysis of the documentation, we will know a lot about the family buried in Stari Jankovci, 1,800 years ago and also want to understand the origin of the horses, if they were raised in Pannonia or came from other areas of the Roman Empire.
The research will be completed with the collaboration of several national and European institutions, as Marko Dizdar, director of the Institute of Archeology in Zagreb says.
Vinkovci is an ancient city, two Roman emperors were born here, Valente and Valentiniano has been inhabited continuously for 8,300 years and for its remarkable historical importance, in 1982 it was declared a protected archaeological area.


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