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Sarcophagus

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

This sarcophagus featuring sculpture in high relief on the inside was found in Simpelveld in 1930. However, it must have fallen victim to tomb raiders earlier, in view of the holes in the lid and the side. Yet, part of the funerary gifts were still there.
The sculpture on the inside makes this sarcophagus unique. The reliefs show the interior of a luxurious room. A lady is reclining on a couch, as if attending a meal. At the head there is a chair with a chest next to it. Right across from this, there is a rack supporting one square bottle and two round ones, and next to that a three-legged wall table decorated with lion’s heads and claws. Next we see a rack with two jugs and two pails, with three beakers and a bottle above them. Right next to this there is a cupboard with two doors, and next to that we find a number of niches.
Between the last niche and the couch there is a view of a Roman villa. Apparently the woman who commissioned the work (the lady on the couch) wanted her ashes to be interred in a miniature house. Her personal belongings accompanied her remains as well: earrings, a mirror, a perfume bottle, a stylus and her wedding ring. All this gave rise to the assumption that there must have been a villa close to the burial chamber. Indeed, in 1937 traces of it were found in the soil, 150 metres from the burial site.

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