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Ancient ‘City of the Dead’ with dozens of human skeletons buried in giant POTS found on French island

FORTY tombs, some featuring skeletons crammed into pots, have been found in an eerie “city of the dead” on a French island.

The graveyard is thought to be 1,700 years old and contains several bodies inside of amphorae, or large jars, from Northern Africa.

Forty tombs, some featuring skeletons crammed into pots, have been found on CorsicaCredit: Jean-Jacques Grizeaud

French archaeologists discovered the site behind a church in the town of Île-Rousse on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

They were carrying out excavations ahead of planned construction works near the Christian building.

The discovery is being referred to as a necropolis, taken from the ancient Greek for “city of the dead.”

People buried at the cemetery range in age from infants to adults, researchers said.

A skeleton buried in an amphorae, or large jar, from Northern AfricaCredit: AFP

French archaeologists discovered the site behind a church in the town of Île-RousseCredit: AFP

The graveyard appears to have been used between the third and fifth centuries AD.

At the time, the Roman Empire ruled over Corsica, although the powerful republic was in sharp decline at the time.

The French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) said it had unearthed between 40 and 45 skeletons.

A dozen tombs were discovered in spring 2019, while more were found during excavations in February and March this year.

The graveyard appears to have been used between the third and fifth centuries ADCredit: AFP

Between 40 and 45 skeletons have been unearthed so farCredit: AFP

The tombs show “great diversity in their architectural style,” the institute said.

Many of the people buried at the Corsica necropolis were found in amphorae, large jars typically used to transport olive oil or wine.

The design of the pottery indicates it was brought over from North Africa, with some potentially manufactured in Carthage in what is now Tunisia.

The large vessels served a second purpose here, the institute said, as “receptacles for the deceased.”

The design of the pottery indicates that it was brought over from North AfricaCredit: AFP

It’s unclear why the jars were used as part of burial practices on the island.

According to archaeologists, it’s likely that those buried at the necropolis on Corsica lived nearby.

The graveyard is located at the foot of the the Immaculate Conception church constructed in the late 1800s.

More work needs to be done to determine what ancient towns or cities may have been located nearby, researchers said.