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Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
This warren of tombs, on three levels, also contains the Triclinium, shere relatives used to sit on stone benches to feast th dead, and a central tomb with reliefs of bearded serpents. Inside are 2nd century AD statues of Sobek and Anubis wearing Roman armour.
Alexandria, Egypt
 
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The Kom As-Shouqafa Catacombs were accidentally discovered in 1900 when a donkey and cart fell through the ground revealing the underground chambers and tombs.
 
The Catacombs of Kom es-Shoqafa[2] Courtesy of Hotels-Egypt-Booking.Com

 

The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa (meaning 'Mound of shards' or 'Potsherds') is a historical archaeological site located in Alexandria, Egypt and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages.

The necropolis consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues and archaeological objects of the Pharaonic funeral cult with Hellenistic and early Imperial Roman influences. Due to the time period, many of the features of the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa merge both Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultural points; some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hair style whilst other features share a similar style. A circular staircase, which was often used to transport deceased bodies down the middle of it, leads down into the tombs that were tunneled into the bedrock during the age of the Antonine emperors (2nd century AD). The facility was then used as a burial chamber from the 2nd century to the 4th century, before being rediscovered in 1900 when a donkey accidentally fell into the access shaft. To date, three sarcophagi have been found, along with other human and animal remains which were added later. It is believed that the catacombs were only intended for a single family, but it is unclear why the site was expanded in order to house numerous other individuals. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa is, according to some lists, also one of the seven medieval wonders of the world. One of the more gruesome features of the catacombs is the so called Hall of Caracalla. According to tradition, this is a mass burial chamber for the humans and animals massacred by order of the Emperor Caracalla.[1]

Catacombs

Catacombs are ancient, human-made underground passageways or subterranean cemeteries composed thereof. Many are under cities and have served during historic times as a refuge for safety during wars[citation needed] or as a meeting place for cults[citation needed]. The first burial galleries to be referred to as catacombs lie beneath San Sebastiano fuori le mura, in Rome. The derivation of the word itself is disputed and it remains unclear if it ultimately derives from the cemetery itself or from the locality in which it is found. There is no doubt however that the San Sebastiano catacombs are the first to be referred to as such.

The word now refers to any network of caves, grottos, or subterranean galleries that were used in medieval times as refuges during wars, as worship places, or for burial of the dead.[3]

Catacomb decorations
Catacombs although most notable for the underground passage ways and cemeteries are also the home of many decorations. There are thousands of decorations in the centuries old catacombs of Rome, catacombs of Paris, and other known and unknown catacombs, some of which include inscriptions, paintings and statues among other things such as ornaments which were placed in the graves over the years. Most of these decorations were used to identify, immortalize, and to show respect to the dead.

Inscriptions
Although thousands of inscriptions were lost as time past, they still serve as an indication of the social rank or the job title of its inhabitants; most of the inscriptions simply indicate how loving a couple was, or the love of parents and such.


Paintings
Paintings can also be seen throughout the burial chambers on the walls and ceilings. The paintings conveyed the same ideas as the inscriptions found throughout the catacombs.[3]

 

 


alfariede
May 26, 2009

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The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa

 

Narutoki
May 06, 2008

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References
 
1. Wikipedia-Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa-retrieved 7/19/2009
2. The Catacombs of Kom es-Shoqafa- Courtesy of Hotels-Egypt-Booking.Com
 3. Wikipedia-Catacombs--retrieved 7/19/2009
 
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