A cup believed to have been used by Classical Greek statesman Pericles has been found in a pauper’s grave in north Athens, according to local reports Wednesday.
The ceramic wine cup, smashed in 12 pieces, was found during building construction in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia, Ta Nea daily said.
After piecing it together, archaeologists were astounded to find the name “Pericles” scratched under one of its handles, alongside the names of five other men, in apparent order of seniority.
Experts are “99 percent” sure that the cup was used by the Athenian statesman, as one of the other names listed, Ariphron, is that of Pericles’ elder brother. Read more.
The world’s largest solar boat, the catamaran PlanetSolar, will embark on a Greek mission to find one of the oldest sites inhabited by man in Europe, an organiser said Monday.
Starting on August 11, a team of Swiss and Greek scientists will seek a “prehistoric countryside” in the southeastern Peloponnese peninsula, University of Geneva researcher Julien Beck told AFP.
The month-long mission, jointly organised with the Swiss school of archaeology and the Greek culture ministry, will search around the Franchthi cave in the Argolic gulf, where early Europeans lived between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. Read more.
Marine archeologists with the American Museum of Natural History are planning to explore the ancient Greek Antikythera wreck in the Agean Sea, using an exosuit developed by Nuytco Research—originally for use in helping workers in New York’s water treatment facilities. The iron-man looking exosuit allows a diver to descend to 1000 feet for hours at a time without need for decompressing upon returning to the surface.
The Antikythera was discovered by divers in 1900—attempts to explore the wreck resulted in recovery of many artifacts, mostly famously, one that is known as the Antikythera mechanism—now referred to as the world’s oldest computer. But it also led to injury and death due to the extreme depth (120 meters). Subsequent attempts more recently have led to more discoveries, but time constraints have prevented a thorough study of the wreck. Read more.
It was in July 1984 when rescue excavations conducted by Dr. Elena Korka, now Director of the Ephorate of Private Archaeological Collections and Antiquity Shops, turned up an ancient sarcophagus of the Greek early archaic period near the town of Chiliomodi in Greece. The sarcophagus contained a female skeleton along with offerings. The interior of the sarcophagus slab was adorned with a composition consisting of two lions of monumental character. It was a remarkable find.
But this was not altogether surprising, as archaeologists and historians believed that somewhere in the area the central structural remains of the city of Tenea likely existed. Read more.
Who says only modern-day pro wrestling is fake?
Researchers have deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed. The document, which has a date on it that corresponds to the year A.D. 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final bout of a prestigious series of games in Egypt.
This is the first time that a written contract between two athletes to fix a match has been found from the ancient world.
In the contract, the father of a wrestler named Nicantinous agrees to pay a bribe to the guarantors (likely the trainers) of another wrestler named Demetrius. Both wrestlers were set to compete in the final wrestling match of the 138th Great Antinoeia, an important series of regional games held along with a religious festival in Antinopolis, in Egypt. They were in the boys’ division, which was generally reserved for teenagers. Read more.
An ancient labor contract by a guard hired to protect a vineyard in ancient Egypt has been deciphered. Scrawled in Greek on a piece of dark brown papyrus, the document dates back to the 4th century A.D., a new research paper claims.
Guarding vineyards in Egypt more than 1,600 years ago was no easy task. Other ancient sources describe grape-seeking thieves who violently beat watchmen in pursuit of the fruits ripe for winemaking. Crime could be especially high from July to September, the time of the harvest, writes Kyle Helms, a classics doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati.
Grape thefts even found their way into poetry. A verse by the Roman poet Catullus says a married woman “must be watched more carefully than the darkest grapes.” Read more.
Emotional expressions on Greek tombstones from the Hellenistic period (323-31 B.C.) help increase our understanding of social communication and cultural values. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Gothenburg.
Doctoral student Sandra Karlsson has studied ancient grave reliefs from the Greek city-states Smyrna and Kyzikos in present Turkey. The reliefs display both figurative motifs and inscriptions.
'This source material provides important information about funerary rituals, demographics, family structures and ideas about life after death,' says Karlsson, who chose to focus on expressions of emotions, but also conceptions of death. Read more.
A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.
In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request leave to make the long journey home to see them.
Addressed to his mother (a bread seller), sister and brother, part of it reads: “I pray that you are in good health night and day, and I always make obeisance before all the gods on your behalf. I do not cease writing to you, but you do not have me in mind,” it reads. Read more.