Source AP ©

Archaeologists discover ancient cemetery in Syria

2,000-year-old cemetery was discovered in the ancient city of Palmyra that used to be the center of Middle East trade routes.

The National Archaeological Expedition discovered an underground cemetery that dates back to the 2nd century, al-Baath newspaper said, quoting Khalil al-Hariri, the head of the expedition.

He said archaeologists found a stone door and two engraved statues of a family. The limestone sculptures depict them as wearing clerical hats, the ancient traditional clothes in Palmyra, al-Hariri said.

Palmyra, which is located in central Syria and is said to have been founded by King Solomon, was a trade center that boomed with the decline of ancient Petra in modern-day Jordan.

The city, 240 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of Damascus, emerged to become a powerful state after the Romans took control of it, serving as a link between the ancient Orient and Mediterranean countries.

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