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Barbarian Cemetery

Outside the church, on the right, a steep staircase leads to the plateau above the former monastic complex where there is the necropolis known as the “barbaric cemetery” which must have impressed Carlo Levi a lot, so much so that he wrote it in his book-report on the bad living conditions in Matera in the 1940s that “The dead are above the living”. These are tombs from the Lombard era excavated in the rock base, with a human dimension but which today seem small, since the average stature of man, at the time, was far less than today.

The sepulchral pit was accompanied by a tooth called “risega” which ran along the upper edge to make the tomb slab adhere to it. To preserve them from decay, the Superintendency for Antiquities has made them cover with pebbles and cement, preserving their original shape. The remains of a Bronze Age settlement with the characteristic holes of the poles that supported the huts and the skeletal remains of the inhabitants were also found in this place.