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The Royal Tombs

This great Salamis burial site is divided into two parts but even so has never been fully excavated at its boundaries are not known.

The Royal Tombs and Salamis Necropolis

There is one area that contains the tombs of royal personages and high ranking inhabitants of Salamis, and a second area in which the ordinary citizens were buried. Only truly of interest to those who are fascinated by burial customs the Royal tombs area has a small museum displaying artefacts that were discovered on the site. These include parts of a royal throne and a facsimile of the funeral hearse for some long departed king. In two of the sloping entrances to the tombs there are the skeletons of the horses that having carried their royal master to his last resting place were slaughtered on site in order to continue with him into the next world. This was a grim ritual but it was the custom of the time. There is evidence that these tombs were in use over an extensive period probably in excess of 1,000 years with the bones of one incumbent being removed to make way for another. When the tombs were no longer utilised, burials took place on the same site but sarcophagi were placed above the rock cut tombs. The Cellarka are a set of much smaller tombs, cut into the rock and accessed down steep steps. They are carved out in a geometric pattern and each cluster of burial chambers is reached from a common flight of steps. Each body would probably have been placed in a terracotta coffin or pithos and the entrance would have been sealed by a stone. Once the body had decayed the bones were removed and the chamber reused. Excavations on the site continue.

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