Santiponce Itálica

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The Urso Necropolis

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The Urso Necropolis, commonly known as “Las Cuevas de Osuna”, is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Roman Hispania. It is located to the east of Osuna’s urban centre. The site is home to numerous rock-cut tombs; remains of what must have been an extensive cemetery. Although the inhabitants of Osuna were aware of its existence, excavations did not begin until the early 20th century when the tombs of the necropolis of Urso were found. 

Some caves appear divided into separate units with vaulted ceilings carved out of the rock. The walls are dotted with paintings of birds. Some researchers argue that these frescoes are pagan motifs, while others view them as Christian references. In any case, most experts believe that they date back to the Paleo-Christian era.

People have been aware of the existence of the “Caves of Osuna” for several centuries. This has allowed for the continuous looting and destruction of this site. Interestingly, it has also led to a historiographic tradition with records of many elements that no longer exist. Access to these open-air caves is free. Many of the objects found are in the local Archaeological Museum, although some are replicas. The originals are in the National Museum in Madrid. The Roman city of Urso is listed as a Site of Cultural Interest.

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