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The discovery of the Necropolis in Carmona and the Amphitheatre took place at the end of the 19th century, following local archeology enthusiast Juan Fernández Lopez and the English archaeologist George Bonsor´s initiative.
The Necropolis dates to around the first century. The most common ritual of burying used then was via incineration. The dead bodies were incinerated on pyres located in holes previously cut from the rock. Sometimes, these incinerators were also used for burial, by placing the ashes in the grave which was covered with ashlar stone, bricks or tiles. Once covered, a sign was placed to indicate the location and name of the dead person.
The collective mausoleum, family-owned and formed by an underground chamber, was the most popular form of burial in the Necropolis of Carmona. It is reached through a shallow shaft cut into the rock, with very basic stairs. The chamber is usually quadrangular, with a bench that runs around the lower part of the walls, where the offering was placed and in the niches. In some chambers there are still traces of the doors that once sealed them, while others must have been sealed with a slab or flagstone. The external part of the burial place probably included memorial stones, headstones, or burial mounds and other constructions of which no examples have survived. To hide the coarseness of the rock, the graves would have been decorated. Its excellent state of preservation makes the Necropolis one of the most important archaeological sites in the Iberian Peninsula.
Opposite the Necropolis is the Amphitheatre, designed for public entertainment, often involving animals, and other artistic and cultural events.
It is believed that the stands and vestibules were covered and had niches where statues of well-known emperors and illustrious local people from Carmona were placed.
The so-called ima and media cavea are found below ground level, dug out of the local Alcor rock, while the suma cavea was the only built-up part.
On its eastern façade there is an entry ramp, similar to those that must have been on each of the corners, which gave access to the vomitoria, exit passageways behind the actual amphitheater
Points of interest
The Elephant tomb.
It is a sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the gods Cybele and Attis. The veneration of these Eastern deities reached enormous importance in Rome. The cult of Attis, a God who died and was re-born each year, took root among the local people here, as other discoveries in the Necropolis have shown, and marked the rekindling of a form of religiosity existing in both eastern and Mediterranean cultures, with which Carmona had maintained unquestionable relations for a long period of time. Together with this god is the mother goddess, the divine incarnation of nature, the mistress of life and death, whose presence represented through the aniconic form of a “betilo” oval-based sacred stone. However, the figure of the elephant has generated such fascination since its discovery that it has become the most noteworthy symbol of eternity in this edifice.
The tomb of Servilia
The tomb of Servilia, the largest of all the traditional structures in the Necropolis, is based on the Hellenistic model and is built in the form of a luxurious mansion, with a large porticoed courtyard which allows access to its different rooms.
One of these areas is formed by a covered corridor or gallery, where there is chamber in which, it seems, the statue of Servilia was originally located.
At the front of the courtyard is the funeral chamber, with a large vestibule, trapezoidal in shape, and covered by a pointed vault; this gives it a unique character which is unprecedented in the area.
To sum up, everything suggests that the tomb, dating to the time of Augustus, must have belonged to a family of powerful Roman rulers and officials.