Necropolis with 80 skeletons of executed men discovered; possibly linked to ancient Athenian coup

Wednesday, 13 April 2016 21:48
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Excavation works have uncovered a mass grave dated to the 7th century BC containing the skeletons of 80 men, possibly the executed supporters of a failed ancient coup, at a coastal Athens construction site where a new cutting-edge multi-discipline center is being built.

The findings, presented by chief archeologist Stella Chrysoulaki, came from the Faliro Delta site, where the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is being built on a tract of land that previously hosted Athens’ horse track.

The skeletons were located in an ancient necropolis at a depth of only two and a half meters from the surface. The bodies had apparently been placed next to each other, with many of the skeletons still bound with rudimentary ancient handcuffs.

One of the more remarkable facts about the site is that archaeologists believe they can pinpoint a more-or-less date for the burials, given that two clay wine jugs were found during the excavation and dated to between 650 and 625 BC, a period that may connect the remains with the so-called Cylonian Affair, a failed attempt to seize Athens’ reins by Athenian noble Cylon and his followers.

Half of the site has been excavated so far.

Initial research points to 80 men, all young in age and in good condition, with excellent teeth and no signs of recently broken bones. Only one of the skeletons showed signs of an arrow wound, with the tip lodged in a shoulder blade. The last of the skeletons discovered was tied with ropes.

Archaeologists promised that the excavation will continue, while the culture ministry will implement a decision to build a small museum at the site.

The SNFCC site will host a new national opera house and Greece’s National Library, all surrounded by park space.

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