Near St. Peter’s, an ancient burial site opens to the public

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An ancient cemetery, located underneath Vatican City and containing the graves of some of the earliest Roman Christians, will soon be open to the public for the first time. It’s well preserved and presents a fascinating view of the lives and traditions of middle and lower class Romans between around 80 BC and 320 AD. Photo courtesy of Vatican Museum

An ancient cemetery, located underneath Vatican City and containing the graves of some of the earliest Roman Christians, will soon be open to the public for the first time. It’s well preserved and presents a fascinating view of the lives and traditions of middle and lower class Romans between around 80 BC and 320 AD. Photo courtesy of Vatican Museum

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) In the first century B.C., a grassy hillside just north of what is now St. Peter's Square was used as a burial place for local Romans. Now the Vatican is ready to let the public see what it uncovered there.