Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Virtual tour of Dion

A must-see website offering an online tour of Dion, the religious centre of Macedonia since the 5th century BC.

Virtual tour of Dion

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Early Bronze Age hoard of metal tools found in Northern Greece

Source: Markoulakis Publications

In November 2008, a team of the Ephorate of Underwater and Coastal Antiquities, consisted by the archaeologist George Koutsoyflaki and the divers Athanasios Kouvela and Elias Kouvela, conducted preliminary research in an underwater marine area of Glyfada – Meses, N. Rodopi, for the documentation and allocation of an archaeological area as indicated to the Hellenic Archaeological Service by the resident Athanasios Lykos from Kosmos, Komotini.

The submerged area of interest, had been identified during the resident’s free diving who uncovered and collected two samples of small copper tools which has been delivered to the Museum of Komotini.

In the indicated position, at a depth of 3.5 meters and at a distance of 450 meters from the shore, has been discovered a high concentration of copper tools exposed to the underwater conditions. The bulk of the collection consisted of aggregated slag and tools of oxide copper at an area of not more than ten square meters. Additionally, at a short distance from the main material concentration, the team also collected bronze tools which have been moved away from it due to intervention of secondary effects.

The first typological analysis of the tools showed that all of these tools dated back at the mid-third millennium BCE. The artifacts have been counted of a total 110 bronze tools and there is an unknown number still trapped within the underwater aggregation. This is the greatest treasure of tools of Early Bronze Age that has so far discovered in Greece and neighboring Balkan countries and it is expected that a thorough study will light the history of metallurgy of that period.

Although research in area has not been completed, initial estimates show that the treasure was not related to a wreck, or a village that has been submerged. The small dispersion of tools in place, the way their packaged, the presence of a basket bases and of pots as well as the Stratigraphic measurement that has been made during the survey, showed that the findings probably have been hidden as a treasure gear in a position which during the Early Age Bronze was a rocky coastal area of land.

Also the official press release (in Greek) from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

1,800-Year-Old Chariot Unearthed

Source: AP via AOL News

SOFIA, Bulgaria (Nov. 21) - Archaeologists have unearthed an elaborately decorated 1,800-year-old chariot sheathed in bronze at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Friday.

"The lavishly ornamented four-wheel chariot dates back to the end of the second century A.D.," Veselin Ignatov told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the site, near the southeastern village of Karanovo.

Read the rest of the story here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

New Egyptology Journal

Egypte Nilotique et Méditérranéenne

From the journal's website.

ENiM is the first French electronic Journal of Egyptology. ENiM publish works from the research team « Égypte nilotique et méditerranéenne », UMR 5140 « Archéologie des Sociétés méditerannéennes » of Cnrs, but the Journal also accepts papers submission from any membership of the International Community of Egyptology.

ENiM aims to publish works dealing with all aspects of Ancient Egypt, from the prehistoric times to the Coptic period.

ENiM is a totally free Journal; the available papers are easily downloaded online as pdf file format.

ENiM is an annual Journal, which collects all the papers published along the year; the final volume is edited at the end of the civil year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Νεολιθικό σπίτι «αποδεικνύει» επεξεργασία σιτηρών πριν από 6.000 χρόνια

Source: TA NEA

By Παρασκευή Κατημερτζή

Ένα αγροτικό σπίτι, ηλικίας 6.000 ετών, με όλο τον οικιακό εξοπλισμό του σε άριστη κατάσταση στη θέση όπου τον άφησαν οι ένοικοι λίγο προτού καταστραφεί από τη φωτιά, ήρθε στο φως στη Σωσάνδρα της Αριδαίας, κοντά στην Πέλλα της Δυτικής Μακεδονίας, προσφέροντας πολύτιμες και μοναδικές πληροφορίες για την αρχιτεκτονική και την οργάνωση ενός σπιτιού στο τέλος της νεολιθικής εποχής.

Αφορμή για την ανακάλυψη των οικοδομικών λειψάνων ήταν ένα έργο υποδομής, η διάνοιξη της αύλακας του κεντρικού αγωγού μεταφοράς νερού από τη Σωσάνδρα στην Αριδαία. Η ανασκαφή άρχισε τον Μάρτιο και σύντομα αποκαλύφθηκε ένα σχεδόν πλήρες πλέγμα από πασσαλότρυπες που έδωσαν τη μορφή, τη διαρρύθμιση και την οργάνωση της οικοδομής. Είναι ένα ορθογώνιο, πασσαλόπηκτο κτίριο, επιφάνειας 58 τ.μ., με σκελετό από πασσάλους και τοίχους από πλέγμα κλαδιών και καλαμιών που είχαν επαλειφθεί με πηλό. Έχει τριμερή διάρθρωση, με δύο φούρνους ανάμεσα στους οποίους υπάρχει χώρος συγκέντρωσης και επεξεργασίας αγροτικών προϊόντων, είσοδο προς τον Νότο και δάπεδα καλυμμένα με ψαθιά. Οι μυλόπετρες, οι τριπτήρες και οι αποθηκευτικοί λάκκοι που βρέθηκαν μαζί με το πλήθος των πήλινων αγγείων και λίθινων εργαλείων υποδηλώνουν εμμέσως την καλλιέργεια και επεξεργασία των σιτηρών στο τέλος της νεολιθικής εποχής. Το σπάνιο είναι ότι τα ευρήματα έμειναν ανέπαφα μέχρι σήμερα όπως τα άφησαν οι μακρινοί τους ένοικοι.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Μυκηναίος με ξίφος made in Italy



Με ξίφος εισηγμένο από την Ιταλία πολεμούσε ο Μυκηναίος πολεμιστής της Αμφιλοχίας. Στη διαπίστωση αυτή κατέληξαν χημικοί έπειτα από αναλύσεις δειγμάτων του χάλκινου ξίφους (μήκους 0,94 μ.) που βρέθηκε πέρσι με έναν χρυσό κύληκα και όλη την αρματωσιά του νεκρού σε κιβωτιόσχημο τάφο στη θέση Κουβαρά Φυτειών (ανάμεσα στη λίμνη Αμβρακία και την Αμφιλοχία).

Η ανασκαφή έγινε με αφορμή τα έργα για την ευρεία παράκαμψη Αγρινίου, που αποτελεί τμήμα της Ιονίας οδού. Οι αναλύσεις έγιναν σε εξειδικευμένο κέντρο της Αυστρίας, που δημιουργεί ηλεκτρονική βάση δεδομένων για τα μυκηναϊκά ευρήματα. Τα πορίσματα της έρευνας παρουσίασε η προϊσταμένη της ΛΣΤ' Εφορείας Αιτωλοακαρνανίας, Μαρία Γάτση-Σταυροπούλου, στο συνέδριο που οργανώθηκε από τη Νομαρχία Αιτωλοακαρνανίας την περασμένη Παρασκευή στο Μεσολόγγι με θέμα «Η πολιτιστική κληρονομιά της Αιτωλοακαρνανίας. Προστασία και ανάδειξη μέσα από τις τελευταίες έρευνες».

Η προέλευση του ξίφους επιβεβαιώνει την επικοινωνία και τις εμπορικές ανταλλαγές που είχαν οι Μυκηναίοι με άλλες χώρες της Μεσογείου. «Τα μέχρι στιγμής στοιχεία χρονολογούν τα ευρήματα αυτού του τάφου στο τέλος του 12ου αι. π.Χ.» μας είπε η αρχαιολόγος, προσθέτοντας όμως ότι το υλικό ακόμη μελετάται και δεν αποκλείεται να διαφοροποιηθεί η χρονολόγηση.

Παράλληλα, συντηρούνται τα υπόλοιπα κτερίσματα, όπως ένα μικρότερο χάλκινο ξίφος (μήκους 0,42 μ.) με οστέινη λαβή και ένα μαχαίρι που όμως δεν σώζεται σε καλή κατάσταση. Στον ίδιο τάφο βρέθηκαν μία αιχμή βέλους και μία αιχμή δόρατος, ένας τριποδικός λέβητας που σπανίζει σε μυκηναϊκούς τάφους, αλλά σημαντικότερο θεωρείται ένα ζεύγος χάλκινων περικνημίδων που συναντάται πολύ σπάνια σε ταφές αυτής της εποχής και ιδιαίτερα στη δυτική Ελλάδα.

«Ολος ο τάφος αποτέλεσε για μας μεγάλη έκπληξη», τονίζει η έφορος. Σύντομα θα μπουν στον μικροσκόπιο της έρευνας και τα οστά του νεκρού, σε μεγάλο βαθμό αποσαθρωμένα. Δείγμα τους θα δοθεί για μελέτη στην αρχαιολόγο-ανθρωπολόγο Ιωάννα Μουτάφη. Θα περιληφθούν στο μελλοντικό σχεδιασμό παρουσίασης όλων των ευρημάτων του νομού.

Τα ευρήματα των τελευταίων χρόνων, σύμφωνα με τον νομάρχη Αιτωλοακαρνανίας Θύμιο Σώκο, που έχει αγκαλιάσει την προσπάθεια της νεοσύστατης ΛΣΤ' ΕΠΚΑ, «μας υποχρεώνουν να ξαναγράψουμε την ιστορία της Αιτωλοακαρνανίας». Και πράγματι αλλάζουν τα δεδομένα αλλά και η εικόνα των ορατών μνημείων, όπως φάνηκε στο συνέδριο.

Ο επ. έφορος Αρχαιοτήτων Λάζαρος Κολώνας ανέφερε ότι στο τέλος του έτους ολοκληρώνεται το πρόγραμμα ανάδειξης τριών μεγάλων αρχαιολογικών χώρων: των Οινιάδων, της αρχαίας πόλης της Παλαίρου και του Πλευρώνα. Πλούσια επίσης είναι τα ευρήματα από την ανασκαφική έρευνα των τελευταίων χρόνων: σε ιερό στη θέση Ελληνικό Βελβίνας, στο Σπήλαιο Παλιάμπελα της Βόνιτσας, στο Ακτιο Βόνιτσας και στα Παλιομάνινα. Τέλος, έρχεται στο φως και η βυζαντινή Ναύπακτος.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


For those of you who are familiar with this newspaper...Please, do support their cause.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

After nearly 57 years in circulation, the Athens News is under threat of closure. On September 25 it was announced to us by the Lambrakis Press, which has managed this newspaper since it entered the Lambrakis Foundation in 1993, that it will wind up the operation, possibly as early as Friday 3 October.

We are currently engaged in an effort to extend that deadline in order to find new investors to take over the title, archive and books. But it is impossible for any serious investor to carry out due diligence and responsibly and formally register their interest to our current owners within a week. We need an extension of at least a month, in which to make contact with the various potential investors currently reviewing our balance sheet and business plan.

We feel that a move to pull out the rug from under an independent newspaper which has served the thinking public since 1952 should not stand. We are therefore appealing to you, the community we exist to serve, to write an open letter to our publisher, Christos Lambrakis, under copy to us, appealing for an extension and presenting the case, as you see it, for our continued existence under a new owner.

Please send your letters to this email address for publication and forwarding.

Thank you.

John Psaropoulos


LINKS (online petition)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Greece unearths treasures at Alexander's birthplace

Source: Reuters

ATHENS (Reuters) - Archaeologists have unearthed gold jewellery, weapons and pottery at an ancient burial site near Pella in northern Greece, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, the culture ministry said on Thursday.

The excavations at the vast cemetery uncovered 43 graves dating from 650-279 BC which shed light on the early development of the Macedonian kingdom, which had an empire that stretched as far as India under Alexander's conquests.

Among the most interesting discoveries were the graves of 20 warriors dating to the late Archaic period, between 580 and 460 BC, the ministry said in a statement.

Some were buried in bronze helmets alongside iron swords and knives. Their eyes, mouths and chests were covered in gold foil richly decorated with drawings of lions and other animals symbolizing royal power.

"The discovery is rich in historical importance, shedding light on Macedonian culture during the Archaic period," Pavlos Chrysostomou, who headed the eight-year project that investigated a total of 900 graves, told Reuters.

Pavlas said the graves confirmed evidence of an ancient Macedonian society organized along militaristic lines and with overseas trade as early as the second half of the seventh century BC.

Among the excavated graves, the team also found 11 women from the Archaic period, with gold and bronze necklaces, earrings and broaches.

Nine of the graves dated to the late classical or early Hellenistic period, around the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC.

Alexander, whose father Philip II unified the city states of mainland Greece, conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks before dying at the age of 32 in Babylon. Educated by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, Alexander was never defeated in battle.

(Reporting by Daniel Flynn and Renee Maltezou; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Επιστρέφουν στην Ελλάδα 22 αρχαία αντικείμενα που εξήχθησαν παράνομα στην Ουγγαρία


Συνολικά 22 αρχαία ελληνικά αντικείμενα που εξήχθησαν παράνομα από τη χώρα μας και που μέχρι σήμερα φιλοξενούνταν στο Μουσείο Καλών Τεχνών της Βουδαπέστης βρίσκουν το δρόμο της επιστροφής στην Ελλάδα, με την ουγγρική κυβέρνηση να αναλαμβάνει όλες τις απαραίτητες διαπραγματεύσεις.

Η υπουργός Εξωτερικών, Ντόρα Μπακογιάννη σε συνάντηση που είχε με την Ουγγαρέζα ομόλογό της, Κίνγκα Γκεντζ, μίλησε για την επιστροφή των 22 αρχαίων ελληνικών αντικειμένων από το Μουσείο της Βουδαπέστης, τονίζοντας πως αναπτύσσονται διμερείς σχέσεις μεταξύ των χωρών σε τουριστικό, εμπορικό και πολιτιστικό τομέα.

Τα κομμάτια αυτά, όπως εξήγησε η κ. Γκέντζ, αγοράστηκαν από το Μουσείο πριν μερικά χρόνια, αλλά στην πορεία αποκαλύφθηκε ότι αποτελούν προϊόν παράνομης διακίνησης και σύμφωνα με τη συνθήκη της Ουνέσκο «οφείλουμε», όπως είπε, «να τα επιστρέψουμε στην Ελλάδα».

Ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού, Μιχάλης Λιάπης, κατά τη διάρκεια των εγκαινίων της έκθεσης φωτογραφίας «Έλληνες στην Ουγγαρία» στην Τεχνόπολη στο Γκάζι, αναφέρθηκε στη συνεργασία Ελλήνων και Ούγγρων, η οποία, όπως δήλωσε, επεκτείνεται περαιτέρω «αφού η κυβέρνηση της Ουγγαρίας προσέρχεται ως συμπαραστάτης μας στον αγώνα για την πάταξη της αρχαιοκαπηλίας και την επιστροφή των αρχαιοτήτων εξετάζοντας το ενδεχόμενο να μας επιστρέψει 22 αρχαία αντικείμενα που σήμερα εκτίθενται στο Μουσείο Καλών Τεχνών της Βουδαπέστης και που εξήχθησαν παράνομα από τη χώρα μας».

Friday, September 05, 2008

Χείρα βοηθείας από το Πρίνστον στο αίνιγμα των τοιχογραφιών της Θήρας

Source: TA NEA

Τις εικόνες που σχηματίζουν χιλιάδες θρυμματισμένα κομμάτια τοιχογραφιών από το Ακρωτήρι της Θήρας αναζητούν εδώ και δεκαετίες οι αρχαιολόγοι με μοναδικά τους όπλα την παρατηρητικότητα και την υπομονή. Ένας νέος σύμμαχος έρχεται να προστεθεί στο επίπονο έργο τους, που αποτελείται από σκάνερ και ηλεκτρονικούς υπολογιστές- πρόγραμμα που αναπτύσσεται από το Πανεπιστήμιο του Πρίνστον σε συνεργασία με τους Έλληνες αρχαιολόγους, Χρίστο Ντούμα και Ανδρέα Βλαχόπουλο.

«Η νέα τεχνολογία παρέχει τη δυνατότητα να αλλάξει ο τρόπος της αρχαιολογικής έρευνας», λέει στο «Science Daily» ο καθηγητής Πληροφορικής στο Πρίνστον, Ντέιβιντ Ντόμπκιν. «Η νέα προσέγγιση πραγματικά κάνει τον υπολογιστή ερευνητικό συνεργάτη των αρχαιολόγων», προσθέτει ο καθηγητής που δουλεύει στο πρόγραμμα εδώ και δύο χρόνια και πρόσφατα παρουσιάστηκε, πρώτη φορά, σε συνέδριο.

Η αρχή έγινε πειραματικά από την τοιχογραφία με τις «Πολύχρωμες Σπείρες», ειδικότερα με τα μονόχρωμα τμήματα της τοιχογραφίας που είναι δυσκολότερο να τοποθετηθούν στην αρχική θέση τους.

Τα πρώτα αποτελέσματα κρίνονται ενθαρρυντικά, ενώ κατά τη διάρκεια του Σεπτεμβρίου το σύστημα πρόκειται να εγκατασταθεί μονίμως στο Ακρωτήρι.

Αρχικά τα θραύσματα τοποθετούνται σε έναν σαρωτή και σαρώνονται από διάφορες γωνίες. Στη συνέχεια οι επιφάνειές τους σαρώνονται με λέιζερ, ενώ βρίσκονται πάνω σε μια περιστρεφόμενη πλατφόρμα. Το λογισμικό του συστήματος αναλαμβάνει να συνδυάσει τα δεδομένα του σαρωτή και του λέιζερ και να δημιουργήσει ένα τρισδιάστατο μοντέλο του θραύσματος.

Το νέο σύστημα είναι φθηνότερο, πιο εύχρηστο και σχεδιασμένο εξαρχής να χρησιμοποιείται από τους ίδιους τους αρχαιολόγους και τους συντηρητές. Χρησιμοποιεί έναν συνδυασμό ισχυρών αλγόριθμων και μιας μεθόδου επεξεργασίας ανάλογης με την παραδοσιακή των αρχαιολόγων.

«Όταν το έργο ολοκληρωθεί, ο χρόνος ανακατασκευής ενός τοίχου θα μειωθεί από χρόνια σε μήνες. Θα απελευθερώσει τους αρχαιολόγους για άλλες πολύτιμες εργασίες», επισημαίνει ο καθηγητής Πληροφορικής στο Πρίνστον, Σίμον Ρουσίνκιεβιτς. «Δεν βρήκαμε τη λύση, αλλά ένα εργαλείο για να βρούμε τη λύση», προσθέτουν οι Έλληνες αρχαιολόγοι.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reclaimed antiquities exhibited

Source: iol

Athens - Two ancient artifacts illegally removed from Greece decades ago went on display in Athens on Wednesday after a US-based collector was persuaded to repatriate them, the Greek culture ministry said.

The upper part of a marble funerary stele and a bronze krater, or large cup, dated to the 5th and 4th century BCE, were returned by collector Shelby White in August under a deal in which Greece pledged not to legally pursue the matter, it said.

"The culture ministry recognises that the antiquities were acquired by Ms White in good faith, and for this demands will be raised against (her)," a ministry statement said.

But Greece reserves its legal rights over other potential claims regarding items in White's collection, it added.

White and her late husband, New York financier and philanthropist Leon Levy, accumulated one of the finest US collections of Roman and Greek antiquities.

The funerary stele depicting a youth and a warrior was found in the early 1960s in Porto Rafti, a coastal resort east of Athens.

Three decades later, a Greek archaeologist identified its missing upper fragment in the White-Levy collection from a New York Metropolitan Museum exhibit catalogue. The Greek state filed a claim for the item last year.

The two fragments will now be reunited at the local Museum of Vravrona for the first time in decades, the ministry said.

The bronze krater, a vessel in which the ancient Greeks mixed wine and water, was likely looted from a royal tomb in the northern region of Pieria, Greek archaeologists believe.

Both items will be temporarily displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

A country rich in antiquities targeted by looters for nearly 200 years, Greece has lately stepped up efforts to reclaim items illegally exported abroad, many of which are in private collections or major museums.

"The pillage of antiquities has been particularly traumatic for small countries with rich history such as ours," Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said on Wednesday.

"Hence their repatriation is of great importance to the Greek people."

Symbolic past of early Aegeans revealed at Dhaskalio Kavos site

Source: Times Online

Normand Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent

A rocky islet and a nearby hillside have yielded evidence of one of Greece’s oldest and most enigmatic ritual sites. Imported stones and fragmented marble statuettes show that Dhaskalio and Kavos were “a symbolic central place for the Early Bronze Age” in the Aegean, according to Professor Colin Renfrew.

Kavos is a stony, scrub-covered slope on the Cycladic island of Keros. Forty-five years ago Professor Renfrew, then a PhD student at Cambridge, found extensive looting there, with fragments of marble bowls and the famous Cycladic folded-arm figurines scattered across the surface.

The date of the Dhaskalio Kavos site, based on pottery fragments and since confirmed by radiocarbon, lies in the middle of the third millennium BC, probably around 2800-2300BC — roughly the same age as the Pyramids. Later developments in the Aegean, centred on Crete and the Greek mainland, include the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations represented by sites such as Knossos and perhaps reflected in the world of Homer’s Iliad.

Investigations by Professor Christos Doumas, of the Greek archaeological service, followed by a new project headed by Professor Renfrew and Dr Olga Philaniotou, have shown that the mainland site of Kavos was used for ritual deposition of hundreds of broken marble figurines, none complete and with hardly any joining fragments (The Times, August 21, 2006), as well as fragmentary marble bowls.

Although the island of Keros has long been noted for two complete marble figures in the National Museum in Athens, the raw materials for the marble artefacts at Kavos seem to have originated elsewhere in the Cyclades. The pottery includes fragments of vessels probably made on the islands of Syros and Amorgos, and some may have come from the Greek mainland, from the Argolid and Corinthia in the northeastern Peloponnese.

The artefacts were discovered in two “special deposits” about 150 metres apart on the hillside: the northern had been looted before 1963, but the southern remained undetected until the recent excavations. These were completed this summer. Although everything found in the two special deposits at Kavos was broken, and excavations show that breakages occurred elsewhere — so that what was brought in was already fragmentary — the “missing” pieces have not been encountered on sites elsewhere in the Cyclades.

The Kavos fragments “must have been deposited in the course of ceremonies which were clearly of pan-Cycladic significance. Dhaskalio Kavos can now be regarded as a symbolic central place, the first such regional centre to have been discovered from the Aegean Early Bronze Age,” Professor Renfrew reports. On the Dhaskalio islet, “it is striking that no marble figurines of the standard folded-arm form were found, despite their frequency in the special deposit.”

Buildings uncovered this summer were well constructed, using not local stone but schist and marble imported from the large island of Naxos. On Dhaskalio the remains of a structure about 16 metres (52 ft) long were found, which had been abandoned around 2000BC and which Professor Renfrew notes is “the largest building yet known from the Cycladic Early Bronze Age”. A hoard of three bronze or copper axes found within it has more than a kilogram of valuable metal, but a lack of clay sealings from merchandise suggest that it was not a trading centre.

Another summit building was small and circular, and contained almost 350 beach pebbles. “The context suggests ritual deposition, presumably in the context of religious observance,” said Professor Renfrew. “Clearly there were ritual practices special to the settlement on Dhaskalio.”

Το Μετρό βρίσκει αρχαία, αλλά τα αφήνουν άστεγα

Source: TA NEA

Κόντρα ανάμεσα στο υπουργείο Πολιτισμού και το Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης έχει ξεσπάσει με αφορμή τους αρχαιολογικούς θησαυρούς που έρχονται στο φως. Κι αυτό διότι η μεν αρμόδια Εφορεία Αρχαιοτήτων μπορεί να έχει κλειδώσει σε θησαυροφυλάκιο τα χρυσά στεφάνια που βρέθηκαν στον σταθμό Σιντριβάνι, δεν διαθέτει χώρο φύλαξης όμως για τους τέσσερις ογκώδεις τάφους που θα αποσπαστούν ολόκληροι, αλλά ούτε και για τα χιλιάδες ευρήματα που ήρθαν στο φως μαζί με τους 1.414 ανεσκαμμένους μέχρι σήμερα τάφους λόγω έργων. Και το δε Μετρό δεν πληρώνει για να εξασφαλίσει τη φύλαξη των αρχαίων έως ότου ολοκληρωθούν τα έργα και οι αρχαιότητες τοποθετηθούν στους σταθμούς ως εκθέματα κατά το πρότυπο της Αθήνας.

Το κόστος για την ανακατασκευή κτιρίου για τη φύλαξη των αρχαιοτήτων στο Στρατόπεδο Κόδρα κρίθηκε υπερβολικό από το Μετρό Θεσσαλονίκης και αντιπροτείνει την τοποθέτηση λυόμενων σε οικόπεδο χαμηλού κόστους, 40 χλμ. έξω από την πόλη, απόσταση που δυσκολεύει τον έλεγχο των αποθηκών από την ΙΣΤ΄ Εφορεία Αρχαιοτήτων. Η κόντρα έχει οξυνθεί τόσο που η αρμόδια έφορος επεσήμανε ενώπιον του Κεντρικού Αρχαιολογικού Συμβουλίου πως δέχεται απειλές για μετάθεση (!) αν συνεχίσει να επιμένει.

Ωστόσο, ακόμη κι αν το Μετρό βρει λύση (όπως οφείλει), οι αρχαιότητες αυξάνονται και πληθύνονται, ενώ σύντομα θα αρχίσουν και οι ανασκαφές στο κέντρο της πόλης.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Το αντισεισμικό μυστικό του Παρθενώνα θα αναζητήσουν (και) Ιάπωνες ειδικοί


Μία ακόμα ομάδα επιστημόνων προτίθεται να αναζητήσει το μυστικό που θέλει τον Παρθενώνα να στέκει στο ύψος του, παρά τα πολλαπλά Ρίχτερ που τον ταρακουνούν εδώ και αιώνες.

Πρόκειται για ερευνητική ομάδα από το πανεπιστήμιο Μίε της Ιαπωνίας σε συνεργασία με το ΕΜΠ και το υπουργείο Πολιτισμού.

Όπως αναφέρεται στο σύνολο του Τύπου της Παρασκευής, επικεφαλής της ομάδας είναι ο Τοσικάζου Χαναζάτο, κορυφαίος εκπρόσωπος της ιαπωνικής σεισμολογικής σχολής.

Ο ίδιος έχει διάφορες σκέψεις στο μυαλό του: «Στο επίκεντρο των ερευνών μας βρίσκεται η εύκαμπτη δομή των κιόνων. Εδώ και πολλά χρόνια έχει διατυπωθεί η άποψη ότι οι κολόνες είναι το κλειδί της αντοχής του Παρθενώνα στις σεισμικές δονήσεις» είπε στην ιταλική Repubblica, για να συνεχίσει:

«Το καμάρι του Χρυσού Αιώνα του Περικλή είναι η τελευταία μας ελπίδα. Αν θέλουμε να νικήσουμε τον Εγκέλαδο, πρέπει να το κάνουμε με τη βοήθεια των αρχαίων Ελλήνων».


Source: ANSAmed

BERLIN, AUGUST 21 - Troy was much bigger than what was believed until now, Ernst Pernicka, professor of Archeometry at the University of Tuebingen and in charge of the excavations under way in Turkey, affirms. While the scholars believed for long time that the legendary city spans on a surface of at most 27 hectares, in fact Troy was located on a surface of 35 hectares, Pernicka told the German media. The continuation of a defensive trench from the Bronze Age was recently discovered by the archaeologists and it allowed evaluating unequivocally the real expansion of Troy.

We're back!

After a long summer hiatus we're back.

Stay tuned for more archaeology and ancient history news!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Phaistos Disc declared as fake by scholar

Source:Times Online

Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

Some say that its 45 mysterious symbols are the words of a 4,000-year-old poem, or perhaps a sacred text. Others contest that they are a magical inscription, a piece of ancient music or the world's oldest example of punctuation.

But now an American scholar believes that the markings on the Phaistos Disc, one of archaeology's most famous unsolved mysteries, mean nothing at all — because the disc is a hoax.

Jerome Eisenberg, a specialist in faked ancient art, is claiming that the disc and its indecipherable text is not a relic dating from 1,700BC, but a forgery that has duped scholars since Luigi Pernier, an Italian archaeologist, “discovered” it in 1908 in the Minoan palace of Phaistos on Crete.

Pernier was desperate to impress his colleagues with a find of his own, according to Dr Eisenberg, and needed to unearth something that could outdo the discoveries made by Sir Arthur Evans, the renowned English archaeologist, and Federico Halbherr, a fellow Italian.

He believes that Pernier's solution was to create a “relic” with an untranslatable pictographic text. If it was a ruse, it worked. Evans was so excited that he published an analysis of Pernier's findings. For the past century innumerable attempts have been made to decipher the disc. Archaeologists have tried linking them to ancient civilisations, from Greek to Egyptian.

Dr Eisenberg, who has conducted appraisals for the US Treasury Department and the J. Paul Getty Museum, highlighted the forger's error in creating a terracotta “pancake” with a cleanly cut edge. Nor, he added, should it have been fired so perfectly. “Minoan clay tablets were not fired purposefully, only accidentally,” he said. “Pernier may not have realised this.”

Each side of the disc bears a bar composed of four or five dots which one scholar described as “the oldest example of the use of natural punctuation”.

Dr Eisenberg believes that it was added to lead scholars astray — “another oddity to puzzle them, and a common trick among forgers”. The Greek authorities have refused to give Dr Eisenberg permission to examine the disc outside its display case, arguing that it is too delicate to be moved.

His misgivings could be laid to rest by a thermoluminescence test — a standard scientific dating test — but the authorities had refused, he said. In Rome, this test cast doubt recently on the provenance of another iconic archeological object.

Experts are now contending that the Capitoline Wolf, the famous bronze sculpture of a she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, founders of the city of Rome, dates from the Middle Ages, and not Etruscan times, as long has been held.

The Capitoline Museum's website says that the statue, known as Lupa, or she-wolf, is from the 5th century BC and was donated to the museum in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV.

However, in a front-page article this week in the Rome daily a Repubblica, Adriano La Regina, who for decades headed the national archaeological office for Rome, suggested that the museum was reluctant to release test results indicating that the bronze was medieval.

“The new information about the epoch of the Capitoline bronze has been held back for about a year now,” La Regina wrote. He added that the tests had produced a “very precise indication in the 13th century”.

The 30in (75cm) bronze is the centrepiece of a museum room named after it, and postcards and T-shirts with its image are popular Rome souvenirs.

Claudio Parisi Presicce, the museum's director, insisted that his institution was not trying to hide data that could subtract centuries from the she-wolf's antiquity, saying that the data “aren't definitive yet”.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oldest wheat found in Çatalhöyük

Source: Today's Zaman

A series of DNA analyses conducted on ancient wheat samples have led scientists to conclude that the oldest known wheat was grown in Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in southern Anatolia.

Professor Mahinur Akkaya from the Middle East Technical University's (ODTÜ) department of chemistry says the world's oldest wheat found so far comes from Çatalhöyük, this according to a series of DNA analyses made on 8,500-year-old wheat samples. "Our discovery is of great importance as it gives us significant insight into the birth of the first civilization in Anatolia. With our analyses, we have shown that the oldest known wheat was grown in Çatalhöyük," she said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency.

Akkaya and a group of professors from her university worked on the analyses. "While analyzing several wheat samples, we learned that Professor Gordon Hillman, an honorary professor of archaeobotany at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, had the world's oldest known wheat samples. We contacted him and he gave us a few kernels to analyze in comparison," she said. The analyses showed these samples to be 8,500 years old.

Akkaya, stressing that utmost care was taken with these kernels, noted that they, as Turkish scientists, were happy to have undertaken such an important discovery about Anatolia. "A previous analysis carried out on 6,000-year-old wheat samples had shown that wheat was grown in southeastern Diyarbakır's Karacadağ area. Our discovery has gone beyond this finding," she remarked.

"Generally, Turkish scientists go abroad to conduct such research and analyses or send samples to other countries to have them analyzed. But we carried out the analyses ourselves at our university. We will soon publish our findings in an international scientific journal," she added.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

DNA reveals sister power in Ancient Greece

Source: The University of Manchester

University of Manchester researchers have revealed how women, as well as men, held positions of power in ancient Greece by right of birth.

Women were thought to have had little power in ancient Greece, unless they married a powerful man and were able to influence him. But a team of researchers testing ancient DNA from a high status, male-dominated cemetery at Mycenae in Greece believe they have identified a brother and sister buried together in a richly endowed grave, suggesting that she had as much power as him.

The team, led by Professor Terry Brown and Ms Keri Brown at the Faculty of Life Sciences and Professor John Prag at the Manchester Museum, have been studying Grave Circle B at Mycenae for 10 years. Their paper Kinship between burials from Grave Circle B at Mycenae revealed by ancient DNA typing appears in the Journal of Archeological Science.

The Bronze Age citadel at Mycenae is one of the most evocative prehistoric sites in all of Europe. The legendary home of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, Mycenae held a natural attraction for early antiquarians in the years before its first systematic study by Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s. Schliemann s famous telegram, sent during his excavation of Grave Circle A in 1876, stating that he had gazed upon the face of Agamemnon , turned out to be erroneous for the burials that he had uncovered predated the Trojan War by some four centuries, but his excavations were nonetheless significant as they established Mycenae as one of the richest and, by implication, most powerful of the Aegean states during the 17th to 12th centuries BC.

Grave Circle B spans c. 1675-1550 BC and predates A with possibly fifty years overlap. Within Grave Circle B there is a development from simple cist burials to larger, deeper and richer Shaft Graves with weapons, pottery and gold ornaments including a face-mask made of electrum (a naturally-occurring gold-silver amalgam). Generally they were less well endowed than the remarkable gold-laden burials in Circle A, but the richness of both Grave Circles leaves little doubt that their occupants were elite members of early Mycenaean society.

The team, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, wanted to ascertain the relationships within this elite group, in particular whether the individuals were members of a single family or small number of families who had established themselves as the ruling dynasty in early Mycenae.

John Prag and Richard Neave of the University of Manchester had previously applied modern techniques of facial reconstruction to the seven best preserved skulls. These faces are on display in the Making Faces gallery in the Manchester Museum, and visitors can see how the results suggest that these seven individuals fall into three groups, the heart-shaped faces (which includes the brother and sister), the long faces and one beaky face . Dr Abigail Bouwman in Professor Brown s group then tested mitochondrial DNA from the bones and was able to confirm the relationships.

Professor Brown recalled: We were surprised to discover what appears to be a sister buried beside her brother in the high status, male-dominated grave circle. The implication is that she was buried in Grave Circle B not because of a marital connection but because she held a position of authority by right of birth.

DNA analysis has therefore enabled us to glimpse the factors contributing to the organisation of the higher echelons of society at the beginning of the Mycenaean age.

Keri Brown added: Homer s stories are thought to be memories : tales of the Bronze Age retold some 400 years later, as the early archaeologists who went in search of the places he described found them, not just Mycenae rich in gold but also wall-girt of Tiryns and other sites.

We certainly haven t unearthed the real Electra and Orestes. They were the brother and sister who in the Greek epic tradition avenged their father Agamemnon s death at the hands of their mother Clytemnestra, but if they were real people then they lived centuries after our pair. We will never know who our lady was but it is tempting to think that she might have been a little like the Electra of legend, who seems to have been such a powerful woman that the later stories tell how she was forced to marry a peasant to dilute her influence.

Professor Brown said: On a purely scientific note, our results also show that while it is difficult apply this type of analysis to archaeological remains ancient DNA is generally poorly preserved and the problems caused by contamination with modern DNA are more acute ancient DNA can greatly advance understanding of kinship when used to test hypotheses constructed from other evidence.

It is fascinating work and we have learned a lot. In future we hope to do similar research at other sites in Greece if we can find any at which ancient DNA is preserved.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Harrison Ford Elected to AIA Board

Source: Archaeological Institute of America

"Indiana Jones" shows his commitment to real archaeology.

After years of being identified on screen as the legendary archaeologist "Indiana Jones," actor Harrison Ford has won election to the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Institute of America. With his Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull set to hit U.S. movie theaters on May 22, the film star commented on his real world dedication to archaeology, "Knowledge is power, and understanding the past can only help us in dealing with the present and the future."

The Archaeological Institute of America is North America's oldest and largest non-profit organization devoted to archaeology. With more nearly a quarter of a million members and subscribers and 105 local chapters, it promotes archaeological excavation, research, education, and preservation on a global basis. At the core of its mission is the belief that an understanding of the past enhances our shared sense of humanity and enriches our existence. As archaeological finds are a non-renewable resource, the AIA's work benefits not only the current generation, but also those yet to come in the future.

"Harrison Ford has played a significant role in stimulating the public's interest in archaeological exploration," said Brian Rose, President of the AIA. "We are all delighted that he has agreed to join the AIA's Governing Board."

In addition, the current May/June issue of ARCHAEOLOGY magazine, published by the AIA, features a cover story devoted to the mysteries surrounding the alleged crystal skull archaeological finds that inspired the new "Indiana Jones" film. For the complete article, go to

Harrison Ford is already helping to raise public awareness of the AIA and its mission as the news of his election to the Board has spread. Many media outlets have covered the story.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Israel Museum puts Dead Sea scroll on rare display

Source: AP via Yahoo! News

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue May 13, 7:57 PM ET

JERUSALEM - One of the most important Dead Sea scrolls is going on display in Jerusalem this week — more than four decades after it was last seen by the public. The 24-foot scroll with the text of the Bible's Book of Isaiah had been in a dark, temperature-controlled room at the Israel Museum since 1967. It went on display two years earlier, but curators replaced it with a facsimile after noticing new cracks in the calfskin parchment.

The museum decided to put the scroll back on show for three months as part of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

The priceless manuscript, written by a Judean scribe around 120 B.C., was in a long glass case Tuesday, its neat rows of Hebrew letters distinct and legible. President Bush, visiting Israel this week for the anniversary celebration, will be one of the first to view it.

The Isaiah manuscript was the only complete biblical book discovered among the Dead Sea scrolls, one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. The ancient documents, which include fragments of the books of the Old Testament and treatises on communal living and apocalyptic war, have shed important light on Judaism and the origins of Christianity.

The Book of Isaiah is traditionally attributed to a prophet who lived in the 8th century B.C.

In the book, he calls for repentance, warns of impending doom, and — in one of the most famous passages ever written — offers an idyllic vision of the future: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Curator Adolfo Roitman called the Isaiah manuscript the "gem of the Dead Sea scrolls." It is "one of the most important treasures of the Jewish nation, if not the most important," he added.

A far smaller fragment of another Dead Sea scroll will be on display at the Jerusalem convention center where Bush will be speaking along with other dignitaries.

The segment, also rarely shown, contains the text of Psalm 133, which reads: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."

Divers Find Ancient Bust of Caesar

Source: AP via AOL News

PARIS (May 13) - Divers trained in archaeology discovered a marble bust of an aging Caesar in the Rhone River that France's Culture Ministry said Tuesday could be the oldest known.

The life-size bust showing the Roman ruler with wrinkles and hollows in his face is tentatively dated to 46 B.C. Divers uncovered the Caesar bust and a collection of other finds in the Rhone near the town of Arles -- founded by Caesar.

Among other items in the treasure trove of ancient objects is a 5.9-foot marble statue of Neptune, dated to the first decade of the third century after Christ.

Two smaller statues, both in bronze and measuring 27.5 inches each also were found, one of them, a satyr with his hands tied behind his back, "doubtless" originated in Hellenic Greece, the ministry said.

"Some (of the discoveries) are unique in Europe," Culture Minister Christine Albanel said. "The bust of Caesar is in a class by itself.

"This marble bust of the founder of the Roman city of Arles constitutes the most ancient representation known today of Caesar," the ministry statement said, adding that it "undoubtedly" dates to the creation of Arles in 46 B.C.

Among other things, researchers are trying to uncover "in what context these statues were thrown into the river," said Michel L'Hour, who heads the Department of Subaquatic Archaeological Research, whose divers made the discovery between September and October 2007.

The site "has barely been skimmed," L'Hour told The Associated Press, adding that a new search operation will begin this summer.

He said the Arles region, in the Provence region of southern France, with its Roman beginnings, and the Rhone are "propitious" for discoveries.

Albanel called the find "exceptional" and said that the Caesar bust is "the oldest representation known today" of the emperor.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AGON- International Meeting of Archaeological Film of the Mediterranean Area

7th International Meeting of Archaeological Film of the Mediterranean Area

Athens, 6-11 May 2008
APOLLON Cinemax Class

AGON, the International Meeting of Archaeological Film of the Mediterranean area, is being held every two years and it is organised by the non-profit association AGON, in collaboration with the Greek magazine Archaeology and Arts. During the festival, archaeological, ethnological and folkloric films are screened, films which reveal and record a lost world, mainly from the Mediterranean area. The viewers will have the chance to ascertain that today’s archaeology all over the world, is not just holding on the past, but it is tracing through time, the essential sparks of knowledge.

During these last 12 years, AGON has developed in an institution with national and international recognition. In a time when Europe is full of archaeological film festivals (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland…), AGON is the only archaeological film festival in Greece, the country which is globally linked with the concept of Archaeology.

AGON, once more held in APOLLON cinema, where it all first started back in May 1996, is inviting you to an exciting journey of knowledge through 31 hours of film projection…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Και επισήμως στην Ελλάδα από την Ελβετία η μαρμάρινη λήκυθος του 4ου π.Χ. αιώνα


Τη μαρμάρινη λήκυθο του 4ου αιώνα π.Χ. που επαναπατρίσθηκε από την Ελβετία στη χώρα μας παρουσίασε τη Μεγάλη Δευτέρα στους δημοσιογράφους ο υπουργός Πολιτισμού Μιχάλης Λιάπης, σε ειδική εκδήλωση στο Εθνικό Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο.

Η διαδικασία επαναπατρισμού της αττικής μαρμάρινης ληκύθου ολοκληρώθηκε την περασμένη Πέμπτη και σε λίγες μέρες θα «φιλοξενηθεί» στα εργαστήρια συντήρησης του Εθνικού Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου, όπου και θα παραμείνει για περίπου δύο μήνες.

Η λήκυθος με ανάγλυφη παράσταση δύο γυναικείων μορφών που εικονίζονται σε σκηνή δεξίωσης αποχαιρετισμού σε νεκρό, κλασική σκηνή αποχαιρετισμού. Είχε παρουσιασθεί το 2007 σε διεθνή έκθεση αρχαιοπωλών στο Μάαστριχτ, όπου δημοπρατείτο από Ελβετό αρχαιοπώλη.

Μετά από σειρά διαβουλεύσεων, ο Ελβετός αρχαιοπώλης αποφάσισε να παραδώσει τη λήκυθο στο ελληνικό Δημόσιο, εξωδίκως, ανεπιφύλακτα και άνευ όρων. Το έργο παραδόθηκε σε εκπρόσωπο της ελληνικής πρεσβείας στη Βέρνη και στη συνέχεια συσκευάστηκε στην ελεύθερη τελωνειακή ζώνη της Βασιλείας και μεταφέρθηκε στην Ελλάδα.

Όπως δήλωσε ο κ. Λιάπης, εξετάζεται η δυνατότητα να παρουσιασθούν σε έκθεση στο νέο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης το προσεχές φθινόπωρο όλα τα επαναπατρισθέντα στην Ιταλία αντικείμενα και η έκθεση να συμπληρωθεί με τα αντίστοιχα ελληνικά.

Ο κ. Λιάπης ξεναγήθηκε από τον διευθυντή του Εθνικού Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου Νίκο Καλτσά στην αιγυπτιακή συλλογή, περίπου 1.200 αντικειμένων, που θα εγκαινιασθεί επισήμως στις 14 Μαΐου.

Artifact with Hellenistic influence discovered at Sassanid city

Source: Mehr News Agency

TEHRAN, April 21 (MNA) -- A team of archaeologists working at the ruins of a Sassanid city in southern Iran’s Fars Province has recently discovered an artifact bearing some traces of the Hellenistic artistic style.

The artifact bears images of two faces looking in the opposite direction engraved on a flat piece of ivory, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

It is only the second time such an artifact has been found at an ancient site in Iran.

“The influence of Hellenistic art is clearly observed in the appearance of the eyes of the faces,” team director Alireza Jafari-Zand said.

The artifact is estimated to date back to a period between 200 BC and 200 CE when local states, which were concurrent with the Parthian Empire, appeared to rule the region after the Seleucids, he explained.

A similar artifact had been identified by a foreign archaeologist at an ancient site in the Izeh region of Khuzestan Province about 70 years ago.

According to Jafari-Zand, the foreign archaeologist never explained how he had acquired the artifact. However, he believes the local people had given it to him.

The Sassanid city, which was identified in May 2007, will be entirely submerged if the Fars Regional Water Company completes the process of filling the Salman-e Farsi Dam.

The 360-hectare city contains ruins of structures from the post-Achaemenid period and the Sassanid and early Islamic eras.

The company had begun filling the reservoir of the dam in mid-March 2007. However, the process was halted after the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) lodged an official complaint.

Afterwards, the archaeological team was organized and dispatched to the region to conduct rescue excavations.

Egypt: Tomb of Cleopatra and lover to be uncovered

Source: AKI - Adnkronos International

Cairo, 24 April (AKI) - Archaeologists have revealed plans to uncover the 2000 year-old tomb of ancient Egypt's most famous lovers, Cleopatra and the Roman general Mark Antony later this year.

Zahi Hawass, prominent archaeologist and director of Egypt's superior council for antiquities announced a proposal to test the theory that the couple were buried together.

He discussed the project in Cairo at a media conference about the ancient pharaohs.

Hawass said that the remains of the legendary Egyptian queen and her Roman lover, Mark Antony, were inside a temple called Tabusiris Magna, 30 kilometres from the port city of Alexandria in northern Egypt.

Until recently access to the tomb has been hindered because it is under water, but archaeologists plan to drain the site so they can begin excavation in November.

Among the clues to suggest that the temple may contain Cleopatra's remains is the discovery of numerous coins with the face of the queen.

According to Hawas, Egyptologists have also uncovered a 120-metre-long underground tunnel with many rooms, some of which could contain more details about Cleopatra.

Born in Rome, Mark Antony was a military general and commander, as well as supporter of Julius Caesar. He was also Cleopatra's lover and bore him a son, called Caesarion.

After Julius Caesar's assassination in March 44 B.C., Antony formed a triumvirate with Octavian, also known as Augustus, and Marcus Lepidus.

Civil war ensued in Rome due to disagreements between Antony and Octavian, who was Julius Caesar's heir and who later became Rome's first emperor.

Antony was subsequently defeated by Octavian and he later committed suicide.

Cleopatra, who came to power at 18 years of age, was once the ruler of Egypt and considered the last of seven queens of the same name.

She was famous for her intelligence, her beauty and her political power.

Cleopatra who also bore Mar
k Antony twins, committed suicide after his death in August 30 B.C.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Professor John Nicolas Coldstream FBA, FSA (1927-2008)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor John Nicolas Coldstream on Friday 21st March 2008.

I had the honour to know Professor Coldstream personally, as he was the external examiner of my PhD thesis at Nottingham in 2003. Prof. Coldstream was always very kind to me and acted as my referee in more than one occasion.

The last time we met was in Volos last June during the conference in memory of another eminent archaeologist, William D. Coulson.

A Symposium on Greek Geometric Pottery in memory of the late Professor Nicolas Coldstream will take place at the British School at Athens on Saturday 29th March 2008.

He shall be greatly missed...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Greek team finds ancient skull that underwent surgery: reports

Source: AFP via Google News

SALONIKA, Greece (AFP) — Archaeologists have unearthed the skull of a young woman in northern Greece who is believed to have undergone head surgery in the third century, Greek news media reported Wednesday.

A Greek team discovered the skeleton at an ancient cemetery in Veria, with the skull including an injury that led them to conclude the surgery had been performed.

"We think that there was a complex surgical intervention that only an experienced doctor could have performed," said Ioannis Graikos, the head of the archaeological dig.

"Medical treatment on the human body in the Roman Veria is part of a long tradition that began with Hippocrates up to Roman doctor Celsus and Galen," he said, cited in the Ta Nea newspaper.

Hippocrates is believed to have lived in the fifth century BC, Celsus between 25 BC to 50 AD, and Galen from 131 to 201.

The procedure believed to have been carried out was a trepanation, an ancient form of surgery to address head injuries or illnesses.

In 2003, Greek archaeologists discovered a man's skull in a tomb on the Aegean island of Chios from the second century BC that had also undergone a trepanation.

The patient was believed to have lived a number of years after the operation.

Another trepanation was discovered in 2006 in Thrace on a young woman from the eighth century BC believed injured by a weapon.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ancient Tomb Discovered on Greek Island

Source: AP via AOL News

ATHENS, Greece (March 5) - Road construction on the western Greek island of Lefkada has uncovered and partially destroyed an important tomb with artifacts dating back more than 3,000 years, officials said on Wednesday.

The find is a miniature version of the large, opulent tombs built by the rulers of Greece during the Mycenaean era, which ended around 1100 B.C. Although dozens have been found in the mainland and on Crete, the underground, beehive-shaped monuments are very rare in the western Ionian Sea islands, and previously unknown on Lefkada.

The discovery could fuel debate on a major prehistoric puzzle - where the homeland of Homer's legendary hero Odysseus was located.

"This is a very important find for the area, because until now we had next to no evidence on Mycenaean presence on Lefkada," excavator Maria Stavropoulou-Gatsi told The Associated Press.

Stavropoulou-Gatsi said the tomb was unearthed about a month ago by a bulldozer, during road construction work.

"Unfortunately, the driver caused significant damage," she said.

She said the tomb contained several human skeletons, as well as smashed pottery, two seal stones, beads made of semiprecious stones, copper implements and clay loom weights. It appeared to have been plundered during antiquity.

With a nine-foot diameter, the tomb is very small compared to others, such as the Tomb of Atreus in Mycenae, which was more than 46 feet across and built of stones weighing up to 120 tons.

But it could revive scholarly debate on the location of Odysseus' Ithaca mentioned in Homer's poems - which are believed to be loosely based on Mycenaean-era events. While the nearby island of Ithaki is generally identified as the hero's kingdom, other theories have proposed Lefkada or neighboring Kefallonia.

Stavropoulou-Gatsi said the discovery might cause excitement on Lefkada but it was too soon for any speculation on Odysseus.

"I think it is much too early to engage in such discussion. The location of Homer's Ithaca is a very complex issue," she said.

Recent finds at Macedonian site of Pella reveal a city beneath the city community

Prehistoric cemetery yields evidence of an Early Bronze Age

By Iota Myrtsioti - Kathimerini

Exciting new finds at the archaeological site of Pella have opened a new chapter in Macedonian history. Beneath the ruins of the ancient capital of the Macedonian kingdom is a large prehistoric burial ground that has yielded the first evidence of organized life in Pella during the third millennium BC.

It was while they were engaged in conservation, repairs and other work to highlight the site that the excavation team from Aristotle University came across more than 100 Early Bronze Age burials in large jars, accompanied by marble works of art from the Cyclades, local ceramics and metalware.

The finds are so recent that experts at the Demokritos Center have not yet completed the analysis of bones that will yield precise dates. However, the initial evidence supplements what is already known about Pella in the Early Bronze Age (2100-2000 BC), when it was the most important city in Bottiaea, long before it was made capital of the Macedonian realm. What became known as “the greatest of Macedonian cities” was apparently built on top of the prehistoric graveyard when Archelaus moved his capital there from Aiges, excavation director Professor Ioannis Akamatis told Kathimerini.

It was on this site that one of the most important urban centers developed. It had what was at the time an innovative, Manhattan-style, rectangular town plan, with an extensive network of water and sewerage pipes, which helped make Macedonia’s largest city one of the most important political and cultural centers of the Hellenistic Era (4th to 1st centuries BC).

The precise boundaries of the prehistoric cemetery cannot be determined because a large part of it lies beneath the urban center of the ancient city, but the graves that have been located so far beneath the city roads provide enough information to form a picture of prehistoric Pella.

In accordance with burial customs in Pella’s prehistoric community, the dead were placed in jars, simple trenches or in stone structures. The bodies placed in jars were buried with their limbs folded and the head either close to the mouth or the bottom of the jar.

Many of the jars are between 150 and 160 centimeters tall. One of them will be exhibited in a new museum in Pella as it was found, with the remains of the body and the grave goods.

The position of the body depended on gender: Men were placed facing the right, women to the left. The arms were crossed over the chest and the hands drawn up to the face below the jaw. Some graves contained infants and children up to the age of 3, while several belong to individuals aged 14-16.

The bodies in the jars represent about 30 percent of the burials. “The Macedonian plain was fertile in antiquity too. They stored goods (agricultural products, wood and metal) in storage jars, and that practice also influenced burial customs,” said Akamatis.

The dead were accompanied by objects, many of which had long been in everyday use before they ended up in the grave. Most tombs contained at least one vessel. Some of the dead were buried with valuable jewelry such as silver rings, gold earrings, bracelets and necklaces, bronze clasps, needles and daggers. “The prosperity of Pella’s prehistoric community is apparent from the metal goods and jewelry,” commented Akamatis.

All the clay finds were vessels made by hand using techniques employed in the Early Bronze Age in Macedonia (3100-2200 BC). Expertly worked marble flasks bear traces of red paint (associated with perceptions of death and life after death), indicating that they were used in burial ceremonies.

Akamatis said that the marble vessel of Pella, which is very rare for Central Macedonia, is related to a Late Neolithic Age (4500-3100 BC) example from Alepotrypa Dirou in the Mani, while a series of small Cycladic flasks date from the Early Cycladic I period.

“The flasks, made with marble probably from Paros, found their way to the coast of prehistoric Pella by sea from the Cyclades to the Gulf of Loudia. It is one of the earliest known examples of trade and economic ties between the Cyclades and Macedonia and the broader region.”

The settlement to which the burial ground belongs must have been fairly close by, Akamatis believes.

The Bronze Age settlement may have been maintained into historical times, since a few distinctive Early Iron Age objects have been discovered at Pella.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Unique Roman Amphitheatre Slumbers Beneath Sofia Downtown


Serdica - an ancient names of Sofia, was a military, economic and culture centre in the Roman Empire.

And while local culture tourism is redirected to Perperikon and other spots dispersed all over this country, a mystic town slumbers beneath Sofia downtown, told from Standart.

The excavations under the medieval St. Sofia church started in the 1940s.

There is a huge Roman necropolis under the church with dozens of tombs stretching under the building of the National Assembly.

Archaeologists and historians reckon the remnants from Roman times and the later cultural strata are unique and can be found nowhere else in the world.

There appears the problem. Round 10 million EUR are needed to take at the surface all the Roman rests.

‘The Heart of the City' project which aims to exhibit Serdica costs 7 million EUR.

The other 3 million EUR will be necessary for researches, conservation and adaptation of the unique amphitheatre, discovered 2 years ago.

The Standart reveals that last week the amphitheatre that was named ‘Sofia Coliseum'.

The walls of the ancient Roman city encircle the region between Alabin Str., Hristo Botev Blv and Iskar Str.

Italian police recover dozens of looted artifacts

Source: International Herald Tribune

ROME: Police in Rome said Tuesday they recovered dozens of looted artifacts, including a fresco believed to have been stripped from an ancient Roman villa.

Police were investigating 31 people who allegedly operated in Italy and France as part of a European art trafficking ring, a police statement said. No arrests had been made.

The remains of the fresco, which was stolen in the 1970s, are believed to belong to the 1st century A.D. villa of the Emperor Nero's wife Poppea in a site near Pompeii, police said in the statement.

The villa is in the area hit by the eruption in A.D. 79 of Mount Vesuvius, which killed thousands of people and buried Pompeii and neighboring towns in 6 meters (20 feet) of volcanic ash.

Also recovered were two 4th century B.C. vases from the southern region of Apulia and other pottery of Greek origin imported millennia ago by the Etruscan civilization in central Italy.

Italian police said the items turned up in collections in Switzerland, France and Spain and were recovered with the help of local authorities.

Calls to police for details were not answered.

During a raid on a house in Milan, police also seized 22 forgeries of paintings by artists including Renoir, Picasso, Modigliani, Monet and Degas, the statement said.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tooth scan reveals Neanderthal mobility

Source: AP via Yahoo! News

By ELENA BECATOROS, Associated Press Writer Sat Feb 9, 2:21 AM ET

ATHENS, Greece - Analysis of a 40,000-year-old tooth found in southern Greece suggests Neanderthals were more mobile than once thought, paleontologists said Friday.

Analysis of the tooth — part of the first and only Neanderthal remains found in Greece — showed the ancient human had spent at least part of its life away from the area where it died.

"Neanderthal mobility is highly controversial," said paleoanthropologist Katerina Harvati at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Some experts believe Neanderthals roamed over very limited areas, but others say they must have been more mobile, particularly when hunting, Harvati said.

Until now, experts only had indirect evidence, including stone used in tools, Harvati said. "Our analysis is the first that brings evidence from a Neanderthal fossil itself," she said.

The findings by the Max Planck Institute team were published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The tooth was found in a seaside excavation in Greece's southern Peloponnese region in 2002.

The team analyzed tooth enamel for ratios of a strontium isotope, a naturally occurring metal found in food and water. Levels of the metal vary in different areas.

Eleni Panagopoulou of the Paleoanthropology-Speleology Department of Southern Greece said the tooth's levels of strontium showed that the Neanderthal grew up at least 12.5 miles from the discovery site.

"Our findings prove that ... their settlement networks were broader and more organized than we believed," Panagopoulou said.

Clive Finlayson, an expert on Neanderthals and director of the Gibraltar Museum, disagreed with the finding's significance.

"I would have been surprised if Neanderthals didn't move at least 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) in their lifetime, or even in a year ... We're talking about humans, not trees," Finlayson said.

Greece Returns Two Stolen Marble Statues to Albanian Museum


By Maria Petrakis

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Greece's government returned two ancient statues stolen from Albania almost two decades ago.

The headless marble statues, one dating back to the 2nd century B.C. and the other to the 2nd century A.D., were handed to Albanian Culture Minister Ylli Pango in Athens today. They were recovered by the Greek authorities in 1997 and identified as having been stolen from the Butrint archaeological site in 1991.

``Greece is implementing a coordinated policy on returning illegally gained antiquities,'' Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis said at a news conference in Athens today. The handover puts this ``policy in practice, in the hope that we will find imitators in other countries.''

Greece and countries including Italy and Egypt are increasingly demanding, and obtaining, the return of artifacts which they say were illegally acquired. Over the past two years, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the world's richest art institution, has agreed to return to Greece the four items claimed by the country, settling a decade-long dispute.

The two statues were identified in 2003 as having been stolen from the museum at Butrint in southern Albania, which borders Greece. The site of a Greek colony and a Roman city, Butrint is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The handover was held at the New Acropolis Museum, which Greece is building to house antiquities from the 2,500-year-old Parthenon, including marbles in the British Museum which it hopes to get back.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at

Friday, February 08, 2008

Oldest lighthouse at ancient Roman port

Source: The New Anatolian

Turkish archaeologists unearthed a 2000-year-old lighthouse at the ancient Roman port of Patara, near southern town of Kas, Antalya, discovering probably the oldest such structure that managed to remain intact.

The 12-meter-high lighthouse was built under the reign of Emperor Nero who ruled from 54 to 68, Professor Havva Iskan Isik, head of the excavation team reported.

"The oldest known lighthouse is the one in Alexandria but there is nothing left of it. So, the lighthouse at the Patara port is the oldest one that has remained intact," she said.

Isik said there might be a second lighthouse at the other edge of the port under a huge debris of soil, which she said was to be excavated at a later time.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Archeologist revises read of ancient seal inscription

Source: The Jerusalem Post


A prominent Israeli archeologist said Monday that she has revised her reading of an inscription on an ancient seal uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David after various scholars around the world critiqued her original interpretation of the name on the seal.

The 2,500 year-old black stone seal was found last month amid stratified layers of debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.

Mazar had originally read the name on the seal as "Temech," and suggested that it belonged to the family of that name mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah.

But after the find was first reported in The Jerusalem Post, various epigraphers around the world said Mazar had erred by reading the inscription on the seal straight on (from right to left) rather than backwards (from left to right), as a result of the fact that a seal creates a mirror image when used to inscribe a piece of clay.

The critics, including the European scholar Peter van der Veen, as well as the epigrapher Ryan Byrne, co-director of the Tel Dan excavations, suggested in Internet blogs that the correct reading of the seal is actually "Shlomit," also a biblical name.

Mazar said Monday that she accepted the reading of "Shlomit" on the ancient seal, and added that she appreciated the scholarly research on the issue.

"We are involved in research, not in proving our own opinions," Mazar said.

She noted that the name Shlomit was known in the period from which the seal dated, and that other contemporary seals had been found that bore names of women who held official status in the administration.

It was not clear whether the name on the seal had any connection to the daughter of Zerubbabel, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:19, since the name was apparently common in the period.

The grandson of Judean King Jehoachin, Zerubbabel, led the first band of Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity, and laid the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

"What we can say for sure is that this woman was an important woman in the society," Mazar said.

The seal, which portrays a common and popular cultic scene, was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BCE, Mazar said.

In contrast, Byrne suggested that a date in the late seventh or early sixth century was more probable, noting that scene was typical of the Iron Age Levant and that there was no reason to surmise the seal had been made in Babylon.

The 2.1 X 1.8 cm elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense alter with their hands raised in a position of worship.

A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar, Mazar said.

The fact that this cultic scene relates to a Babylonian god seemed not to have disturbed the Jews that used the seal, she added.

Mazar gained international prominence for her recent excavation that may have uncovered the biblical palace of King David.

The three-year-old east Jerusalem dig is being sponsored by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute, where Mazar serves as a senior fellow, and the City of David Foundation, which promotes Jewish settlement throughout east Jerusalem.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wine-carrying ship dates back 2,300 years

Source: AP via msnbc

Vessel discovered on seabed off Cyprus is one of only a few such ships

NICOSIA, Cyprus - Marine archaeologists will begin work in June to uncover the sand-buried hull of a 2,300 year-old cargo ship thought to have been ferrying wine from the Aegean island of Chios before it sank off Cyprus' southern coast, researchers said Thursday.

The vessel, dating from the late Classical period (mid-fourth century B.C.) is one of only a few such ships to have been found so well-preserved, said University of Cyprus visiting marine archaeologist Stella Demesticha.

"The shipwreck looks very promising about shedding light on the nautical and economic history of the period in the east Mediterranean," Demesticha told the Associated Press on Thursday.

The wreck rests on the seabed at a depth of 144 feet some 1 1/2 miles off the island's southern coast.

Demesticha said the wreck was also unique because it lies at a depth that divers can easily reach, unlike similar discoveries found in deeper waters.

Unreleased underwater photographs that researchers took of the vessel on initial surveying dives in November show a jumble of dozens of amphorae — clay urns used in antiquity to carry liquids and solid foodstuffs — lying on the seabed in the shape of the ship.

Demesticha said researchers believe the ship's hull to be buried under tons of sand. The amphorae closely resemble others found to contain Chios wine, but may have been used to transport other goods in ancient sea trade.

The discovery could also provide more clues into Cyprus's role in maritime trade during the last phases of the Cypriot city-kingdoms, researchers said.

Worship Site Predates Zeus

Source: LiveScience

By Tuan C. Nguyen, LiveScience Staff Writer

Ancient pottery found at an altar used by ancient Greeks to worship Zeus was actually in use at least a millennium earlier, new archeological data suggest.

The pottery shards were discovered during an excavation last summer near the top of Mt. Lykaion in southern Greece.

The finding, which dates back to 3000 B.C., indicates that the tradition of divinity worship on the site is very ancient and may even pre-date the introduction of Zeus into the Greek world, said David Gilman Romano, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and co-director of the excavation project.

"We don’t yet know how the altar was first used, and whether it was used in connection with natural phenomena such as wind, rain, light or earthquakes, possibly to worship some kind of divinity male or female or a personification representing forces of nature,” Romano said.

A rock crystal seal bearing an image of a bull, of probable Late Minoan times (1500 - 1400 B.C.), also was found on the altar, suggesting an early connection between the Minoan isle of Crete and Arcadia.

Early analysis on various bones recovered from the site has shown they belonged to animals, not humans. Ancient texts had mentioned human sacrifice being practiced at the altar of Zeus, but so far, no evidence of this has been found.

The mountaintop altar is known as one of the mythological birthplaces of Zeus. A meadow below the mountain featured a racetrack, stadium and buildings once used to host an athletic festival that rivaled the original Olympic games, held at nearby Olympia.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Euphronios krater returning

Source: ekathimerini

Famous Greek vase spending its last days at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum

NEW YORK (AP) – An ancient Greek vase that has long been a highlight of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection will be displayed there for the last time tomorrow before being returned to Italy, which maintains it was stolen from a site near Rome.

The museum and Italian authorities agreed nearly two years ago that the Euphronios krater would be back in Italy by January 15, 2008. In exchange, the Italian government is lending the Met other ancient treasures, including three ceramic pieces that are to go on view Wednesday.

“We expected one object, but got three very beautiful objects,” Met director Philippe de Montebello told The New York Times in an interview Thursday, as the museum announced the Euphronios krater’s final day on exhibit. It shows on what a firm footing our future collaborations with Italy will be.”

Dating to the 6th century BC, the Euphronios krater is a bowl for mixing wine and water, according to the museum. Painted with scenes related to Homer’s epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” it is regarded as one of the finest examples of its kind.

The museum bought the vessel for $1 million in 1972 from American art dealer Robert Hecht, on trial in Italy on charges of knowingly acquiring allegedly looted ancient artifacts. He denies wrongdoing. The Euphronios krater is to join an exhibition of masterpieces recovered through Italy’s campaign against illegal trafficking in antiquities. The show opened last month at Rome’s Quirinal Palace.