A new approach to the so-called suburban domus of the Early Christian cemetery of Francolí

Pere Gebellí Borràs

A vast assemblage of archaeological remains was discovered in 1923. Many of the finds were linked to an extensive cemetery consisting of more than 2,000 burials on the banks of the Francolí River that saw use between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD. This paper intends to offer a new approach to certain structures, traditionally known as domus suburbana, which now form part of the archaeological complex of the Early Christian Museum
and Necropolis of Tarragona. The first is a suburban domus with its adjoining garden dating from the late 1st - early 2nd century AD. This feature subsequently underwent reforms resulting in the construction of two thermal sectors and a major extension. The building lost its original function and became what is known as balnea meritoria, probably equipped with an area of reception. The dating proposed for this new phase is the mid-
2nd century AD.

Keywords: Early Christian cemetery, suburban domus, inn, balnea meritoria.