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10 greatest archaeological discoveries in Greece for 2011

08 January 2012 / 22:01:54  GRReporter
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The history of antiquity was written over the centuries, the search for evidence of it, however, does not follow a chronological order, nor does it obey the wishes of scientists who can sometimes struggle for years unsuccessfully searching for some finding, and sometimes - when fate is propitious - to suddenly find it.

In any case, financial problems limit the scope of archaeological research, and hence the results, something that is no secret in recent years. However, despite these restrictions last year there were some important archaeological discoveries in Greece, with findings that could support whole museums. This is a huge wealth which expands our knowledge of the past and in some cases modifies existing theories. Greece ranks first in this area, and evidence is presented below.

The choice of the 10 most important discoveries could very well be extended to 20 or more, so the ranking is not made in order of importance. This will make a thorough study of findings and time.

1. Wooden figure 2500 years old
Archaeologists found a 2500 year old wooden figurine of a woman, which has survived intact to this day. The figurine was found in the temple of Artemis at Vravrona, eastern Attica. The finding is striking, given that wood is rarely kept through time, and the moist soil in Vravrona does not help at all. The valuable finding was discovered during construction activities of a drainage ditch at the archaeological site. Along with the fine figurine with a complex hairstyle two wooden-soled shoes were found, decorated with exquisite carvings, wooden parts of vessels, two bronze mirrors and other objects dating from the 5th century BC.

2. Minoan hieroglyphic writing
A four-sided seal made of dark red jasper, on which elements of Minoan hieroglyphic writing are carved, is for now the only finding from the most ancient script of the Minoans on Western Crete. The seal was found in a Minoan sanctuary on peak Vrisinas - 858 m altitude, along with over 800 human figurines and many other votive objects dating from 1900 to 1500 BC.

Excavations continue and archaeologists Iris Dzahili and Eleni Papadopoulou believe that Vrisinas is the most important sacred peak in western Crete.

3. Escort in death
People buried surrounded by their animals. The finding was discovered in Mavropigi, Eordia where a small cemetery was found from the 6th century BC with 11 people and 16 animals - horses, dogs, cattle and pigs surrounding the human graves. The strange thing in this cemetery, according to the head of the excavation Dr. George Karamitrou-Mentesidi, consists in the fact that this custom was the first one in the region of Kozani and Grevena.

The men are buried with their swords and iron spearheads and three women wear bronze earrings and bracelets on their arms and legs.

4. God or Emperor
The marble statue, a little larger than a natural size, that was discovered in the ancient theatre of Epidaurus comes from the era of the Roman Empire, to confirm the strength and importance of the classical sculptural tradition over the centuries. This is a high quality copy of a 4th century BC work by the great ancient sculptor Polycleitus representing the God Hermes.  The sculpture was loved by many artists so later they made copies of it. It is assumed that the copy was created during the 2nd century AD when Emperor Hadrian visited Epidaurus.

5. The oldest European inscription
This is the most ancient inscription found in Europe. It is an inscription on a clay tablet of Linear B, created 3500 years ago and found in Iklena, Messinia, by the archaeologist Michalis Kozmopoulos, who is making excavations in a Mycenaean palace with huge retaining walls, frescoes and sewage system.

The exact dating of the clay tablet, which was not known to scientists until now, changes what we know about the use of Linear B and the spread of literacy.

6. The Eye of Tutankhamen
A small golden object that represents the human eye, identical to the eye of the golden funeral mask of Tutankhamen, was discovered in a burial jar in the necropolis of ancient Eleftherna in Crete. As the head of the excavation Prof. Nikos Stambolidis says it dates from the 8th - 7th century BC, it is in natural size and has the characteristic "Egyptian blue" around it. It was worn as an ornament on the chest by one of the three women in the family tomb. The dress of the woman was also decorated with gold plates, and in the same jar, among other items was a large bead of rock crystal, on which a boat was engraved, with a square sail, just like the ones that sailed on the Nile River.

7. Family question
Family tombs used by many generations (10th - 8th century BC) have come to light in the region of Chloi, Velestino with rich gifts, and in some of them the dead are in place. Ornaments, and many other objects, such as hairclips and beauty tweezers, weapons, bronze vessels were placed in the tombs to accompany the dead, says archaeologist Argiroula Doulgeri-Indzesiloglou. These are round tombs part of the great cemetery of ancient Feres, and are located near the new highway. 6 of them will be suitable for visits.

Tags: Archeology Greece Crete findings discovery
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