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Ancient Graves With 1,500-Year-Old Human Remains Found Below City Streets

Ancient human remains that are centuries old have been found below the streets of Barcelona, Spain. The skeletons were uncovered amid refurbishment work being carried out along Via Laietana, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.

As part of the discovery, archaeologists documented the remains of seven bodies in graves from the Roman era, as well as two from the Late Antiquity period, the Ajuntament de Barcelona (City Council) said in statement Tuesday.

The Roman-era tombs likely date to the fourth and fifth centuries, while those from Late Antiquity date to the sixth and seventh centuries.

Barcelona’s Roman history stretches back around 2,000 years, and remnants from this period are still visible today across the city while new discoveries continue to emerge.

The area where the city lies was already populated in prehistoric times, but the Romans arrived in the late first century, establishing a small colony known as Barcino. The settlement grew in wealth and size over time, becoming an influential player in the region.

The latest graves uncovered in the city are located to one side of the Via Laietana in a plaza known as Plaça Antoni Maura, just beyond the line of the city’s old Roman wall.

This find came after the discovery in February of more ancient human remains on the other side of the street, El Nacional reported.

The discovery of graves in the vicinity of Plaça Antoni Maura was not entirely unexpected, according to archaeologists.

“It is normal for tombs to be found, as we are where there used to be a burial building where an important person was buried,” Joan Garriga, head of the archaeology unit for the Via Laietana work, told media outlets, the Catalan News Agency reported.

“He was a person of high importance in Barcelona, as they built a building to bury him, and then residents buried around this person, and those are graves we are digging now,” he said.

Archaeologists have been carrying out excavations in the vicinity of Plaça Antoni Maura prior to refurbishment work that will see the installation of flower beds and trees.

Aside from graves, archaeologists have made other discoveries relating to various periods of the city’s history, including walls dating from the Roman, medieval and modern periods.

Besides the walls, Garriga and his team have uncovered a well from the 18th to 19th centuries, as well as food preservation silos from the ninth to 10th centuries, among other finds.