Camposanto, a cemetery in the Venetian Lagoon

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The Camposanto cemetery is located on the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo and was used between 1468 and 1808 to quarantine merchant ships and people who were exposed to the Plague. Archaeological excavations of a 5 x 5 m area within the cemetery were conducted over five field seasons (2015–2019)—ironically, before being suspended by the Covid-19 pandemic. This paper explores the material recovered during those excavations with specific emphasis of the human remains and how they came to be in the cemetery. As a collective deposition, the area dedicated to human burials was used cumulatively over time, with older inhumations being truncated by newer ones. Although most burials contained a single individual, multiple burials were also present. A total of 42 articulated individuals were recovered from the site (11 adults, 26 young adults/adolescents, 5 prepubescent children). Of the adults, 23 were assessed as male, 3 as of ambiguous sex, and 8 as female. In addition to the articulated remains a total of 7,330 human bone fragments from a fragment layer excavated during the 2015 field season were analysed. This resulted in a minimum number of individual estimate of 25 (16 adults/adolescents, 5 prepubescent children, 4 infants).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-180
JournalMediterranean Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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