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Lower Danube: Silistra tomb of a 4th c AD Roman Family (plan)


In 1942 a late Roman tomb containing well-preserved wall paintings was discovered in Silistra. The tomb is a single-chambered vaulted building with a rectangular plan of 3.3 by 2.6 m, with a maximum height of 2.3 m. The floor is paved with bricks, with the entrance on the east side of the building. In 1964 preservation efforts began on the tomb, which has allowed extensive reconstruction of tombs probable original state (fig.1).The tomb is decorated with polychrome walls, each (with the exception of the eastern wall) divided into three separate rectangular pictorial fields.

[Fig.1: Plan of the Silistra tomb, facing west (Silistra Historical Museum, archives).]

The eastern wall has two fields with funeral torches represented on either side of the entrance. Painted bands of trim separate the lower pictorial band from the vault. Two birds, perhaps pigeons, with ribbons in their beaks are represented on the eastern lunette, balancing two peacocks on the west wall on either side of a bronze vessel (cantharos). The decoration of the vault  includes a casette, or paneled ceiling, whose fields contain 63 smaller paintings of vegetation and animal motifs, as well as hunting scenes.

(For more details of the tomb interior:)


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