The Sulky Necropolis

Historical sites

Details and description

The Punic Necropolis of Sulky is an immense underground cemetery, and unique of its kind: both in terms of the type of tombs, and for its sheer size. Indeed, it covers about 10 hectares, and contains thousands of tombs hewn into the rock.

The tombs were used to inter whole family groups, who were laid to rest in accordance with certain set funeral rites and ceremonies. To access the hypogeum you have to walk along a narrow passage, called a “dromos”, composed of a staircase and a landing. Crossing the threshold into the burial chamber is a strange experience which seems to take you into a place of passage, between the land of the living and the world of the dead. The burial chambers are very simple, rectangular spaces, often divided by a partition. They have niches or false windows on the walls, symbolic of the passage of the soul of the deceased into the afterlife.

The body was washed, perfumed, dressed in a long tunic and laid in a wooden sarcophagus. The deceased was accompanied by special funerary objects such as jugs, amphorae (containing wine, oil and water), cups, plates and lamps, but also by precious jewellery and amulets.

Did you know that some sensational finds have been made in this necropolis? The excavations have uncovered some unique sculptures, two carved pillars, and paintings depicting a male figure, possibly a deity, whose features and clothing are very similar to Egyptian imagery. In one instance, the walls of the tomb are completely covered in red ochre, with designs of false windows and a false door, symbols of contact between the two worlds and of the passage of the soul to the afterlife.


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