Friday, August 29, 2008

Exceptional find in Vergina

Archaeologists apparently uncovered one of most fascinating finds to date at the archaeological site of Vergina, northern Greece, earlier this week, namely, an immense cylindrical copper vessel inside of which was a slightly smaller, similar vessel. The exquisite artifact contained an oak wreath crafted in gold, lying atop human bones and immersed in water amid roots, Thessaloniki's Aristotelion University announced on Friday.

The find is considered exceptional, as the wreath is almost equal in quality and dimensions with those found in the Royal Tombs of the Great Tumulus (Megali Toumba) at Vergina, one of the most significant sites in the ancient Macedonian kingdom. Additionally, the inner vessel containing the bones is unique, archaeologists said. The vessel was found on Tuesday amid rubble at the what was once the temple dedicated to the goddess Efkleia by Philip II of Macedon's mother, Eurydice, in the deepest section of the long ongoing excavations at Vergina, which are being conducted by the Aristotelion University archaeologists and students of archaeology, uncovering a plethora of significant artifacts. The outer vessel, which had developed a green patina due to oxidization, was initially spotted by a worker, who shouted out "bomb!" when he made the find.

Archaeologists and restorers were immediately called in, and they undertook the transfer of the finds to a proper, temperature and humidity controlled environment. Archaeologists told ANA-MPA that it would take some time to restore the precious wreath and two impressive vessels to their initial form, during which they would be undergoing studies and testing for identification of the materials and dating of the bones.

Archaeologists are also called on to explain why such a complete find, befitting a tomb, was found outside the limits of the extensive cemetery of the royal necropolis. The director of the university's excavations at Vergina is Aristetelion archaeology professor Chryssoula Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, and the excavation is subsidised by the university's budget.


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