WP 0005

Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania 2021

0261. Christian funerary texts


Tombs from the Christian cemetery at Ain Zara, 14 km. SSE of Tripoli on the edge of the Tripoli oasis. The tombs are associated with a structure, perhaps a cemetery chapel, which is still buried, and with the remains of a precinct wall. They are built of rubble, with a stucco surface, and all approximate to the free-standing, saddle-backed form, rising from a projecting plinth, which is still used in many of the cemeteries of Tripolitania. They were discovered and recorded by Aurigemma in 1911-14. Of the 121 tombs located and examined, 59 yielded some part of the inscriptions with which each was originally covered. The whole complex was ascribed by Aurigemma to the period of Vandal domination preceding the Byzantine reconquest of 531. The cemetery lies on the edge of mobile sanddunes and when revisited in 1948 many of the tombs had been reburied, and others had disintegrated. Fragments of 2 only of the texts recorded by Aurigemma could be located, and the texts were not included in IRT 1952. See now 1141 to 1200.