Phoenix/Mesa Subway Map

This very simple tomb was called a locus, to,poj, nowadays a locule, and defined as monosomus, bisomus, trisomus, quatrisomus or polyandron according to the number of bodies it contained. Phoenix/Mesa Subway Map A series of superimposed locules was called a pila, and generally contained tombs of the same length. The pilae of childrens’ locules were by preference put at the angles of the galleries, for reasons of equilibrium. These little tombs are very numerous because of the high infant mortality and perhaps also because of the charity of the church, which took in exposed babies. In the 3rd c. the pilae were generally ordered, the loculi large and the spaces between them quite wide. In the 4th and 5th c., the use of the spaces was often chaotic, due to the accumulation of tombs and the insertion of childrens’ bodies between already existing locules. The body was placed in the locule wrapped in a sheet, in whose folds lime was sometimes spread as an economical form of embalming. The locule was then closed with tiles or with one or more marble slabs carefully made fast with lime. In Jewish cemeteries it was more common to close them with a small wall, often plastered on the outside. A layer of plaster on the enclosing slabs is also often found in Christian catacombs, especially in the country. The name of the deceased was incised on the marble or painted with red lead or charcoal, or even just scratched in the lime. But most tombs remained uninscribed. To recognize them, relatives frequently embedded in the tomb the base of a cup, a fragment of a plate, a coin, an ivory figurine, a toy, a piece of pottery. Often they put a vase of spices or a clay oil lamp, corresponding to the flowers and lamps of modern cemeteries.

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