Shackled skeletons at ancient Athens cemetery puzzle archaeologists

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Shackled skeletons at ancient Athens cemetery puzzle archaeologistsAn ancient cemetery south of Athens containing more than 1,500 skeletons may provide important clues for life in the ancient city

An ancient cemetery south of Athens containing more than 1,500 skeletons may provide important clues for life in the ancient city, says a report in Forbes.

The mass burial site in Faliro, a port of Athens in classical times, includes people who were tossed face-down into a pit, their hands shackled behind their backs.

Kristina Killgrove reports for Forbes that to learn more about these deviant burials and their relationship to Greek state formation, an international team of archaeologists is cleaning, recording, and analyzing the skeletons.

Excavation at the site began nearly a century ago, with a mass grave – often referred to as containing the “captives of Phaleron” because of the presence of metal handcuffs – excavated by the Greek Archaeological Service.

But large-scale excavation of almost an acre of Faliro was carried out between 2012-2016 by the Department of Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, led by archaeologist Stella Chrysoulaki.

Massive publicity

The modern excavation garnered massive publicity in Greece because of its scale and funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, but little news has trickled out in the English-language media.

Archaeological excavation was careful and detailed, with conservators on site and with several skeletons removed in blocks for future micro-excavation. Digitization of the archaeological field records, photographs, and maps is done, but this is just the beginning for the skeletons themselves, whose preservation and analysis has to be done by specialists in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology.

According to the report, the skeletons found were buried in a variety of ways. Most were interred in simple pit graves, but nearly one-third are infants and children in large jars, about 5 percent are cremations complete with funeral pyres, and there are a few stone-lined cist graves. One person was buried in a wooden boat used as a coffin.

The shackled skeletons have puzzled researchers as there are very few instances of shackled deaths in the ancient world and could indicate punishment, slavery, or a death sentence.

Costly process

Examining and analyzing 1,500 skeletons by bioarchelogists and geoarchaelogists is a time-consuming and costly process and significant funding is needed.

The research team believes that the analysis of the skeletons can give us a window into a critical time in ancient Greek history, just before the rise of the city-state. The four main objectives following conservation of the skeletons:

1) To investigate the shackled and other deviant burials, including the individuals tossed into mass graves and decide whether they are a casualty of the political upheaval that preceded the rise of Athenian democracy.
2) To study the burials of children,  to learn more about infancy and childhood in the ancient world.
3) To learn more about people’s diet in this ancient city, and to find out if its inhabitants succumbed to diseases easily passed through sailors and other travelers from distant lands.
4) To go beyond the analysis of elite individuals buried with elaborate grave goods by focusing on the more simple burials, to shed light on all social classes of ancient Athens.

Heads of the Faliro Bioarchaeological Project are bioarchaeologist Jane Buikstra, founding director of the Center for Bioarchaeological Research at Arizona State University, and geoarchaeologist Panagiotis Karkanas, director of the Wiener Laboratory at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Accessible project

The two researchers aim at making project accessible through a website that would also include summary blog posts, photos, and preliminary results. Public talks around the U.S. are planned, as well as Wiener Laboratory open-house, school, and museum events in Athens.

They also plan to make the database available to researchers around the world. This will allow bioarchaeologists to use cutting-edge analytical methods, such as ancient DNA and isotope chemistry, in order to tell the important stories of the people of ancient Faliro.

Source: Forbes

Photo Source: Greek Culture Ministry

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

 

 

Tornos
  1. 18/01 22:16

    Ice broke on surface of Lake Plastiras in Greece and visitors fell in the water (video)

  2. 18/01 21:45

    Free Covid-19 self-tests for schoolchildren available from pharmacies in Greece on Wednesday

  3. 18/01 20:11

    German supermodel Heidi Klum’s sexy dance in Greek island of Mykonos (video)

  4. 18/01 17:27

    United States airlines warn 5G technology at airports could cause chaos

  5. 18/01 15:35

    UNWTO: Tourism sector grows 4% in 2021 but remains far below pre-pandemic levels

  6. 18/01 15:31

    Greek government is waiting for the recommendations of the experts' committee

  7. 18/01 14:41

    Greek Foreign Minister meets with United States Ambassador in Athens

  8. 18/01 14:33

    Greek Tourism Minister: Upgrade of 3-star hotels introduced in development law

  9. 18/01 14:12

    Greek PM presents investments opportunities to Saudi Arabian businessman

  10. 17/01 22:27

    Greece: Two fronts of bad weather in the coming week

  11. 17/01 21:38

    Cypriot Deputy Minister of Tourism: Cyprus not just a sun and sea destination

  12. 17/01 20:23

    Fourth dose available for the immunosuppressed in Greece as of Thursday

  13. 17/01 19:05

    Greece expects another 25,000 treatments of molnupiravir for Covid-19 next month

  14. 17/01 19:05

    Greece records 18,834 new Covid-19 infections and 101 fatalities on Monday

  15. 17/01 14:58

    Athens and Harvard universities launch joint research on migration issue

  16. 17/01 14:23

    Greek Foreign Minister: France expresses the epitome of the European solidarity

  17. 17/01 12:52

    IATA's SVP for Commercial Products and Services

  18. 17/01 12:11

    Media report: Electricity consumers pay for market distortions in Greece

  19. 16/01 21:47

    Greek government will continue to provide support during global crisis in energy costs

  20. 16/01 13:40

    Stores open in Greece on Sunday, January 16

  21. 16/01 11:48

    Athens-based Pasteur Institute to create Greece's first vaccines production facility

  22. 16/01 09:45

    Last chance for Greece’s over-60’s: Get COVID-19 shot or 100-euro fines

  23. 16/01 07:58

    Greece records 17,447 new Covid-19 infections and 78 fatalities on Saturday

  24. 15/01 19:16

    UNWTO gets set to return to the FITUR tourism trade fair in Madrid on 19-23 January

  25. 15/01 14:51

    Health Minister: Greece receives 5,700 treatments of molnupiravir for Covid-19

  26. 15/01 12:39

    Associated Press: Fitch upgrades Greece’s credit outlook to Positive

  27. 14/01 20:46

    Energy costs overwhelm Greek households

  28. 14/01 17:35

    Greek Tourism Minister: Sector to be spearhead of development

  29. 14/01 14:44

    Greek Foreign Minister meets with counterparts of Austria, Estonia and Lithuania

  30. 14/01 13:46

    Wildlife tourism: Wolf population near Greek capital of Athens growing (video)

  31. 14/01 13:37

    WHO says that half of Europe will be infected with Covid-19 within the next two months

  32. 14/01 13:33

    New study confirms Greek olive oil is diet leader in cancer prevention

  33. 14/01 13:18

    Greek passport among the most powerful in the globe during 2022

  34. 14/01 13:12

    Average age of new Covid-19 cases rises in Greece from 29 to 39 years

  35. 14/01 13:08

    Greek government will support households and businesses with targeted actions

  36. 14/01 13:01

    Athens Stock Exchange reached pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2020

  37. 14/01 12:56

    Greek island of Myconos: New rap footage by Heidi Klum and Snoop Dogg (video)

  38. 14/01 10:52

    6,364 self-tests found positive among students and teachers in Greece

  39. 13/01 23:19

    Capital Link Company Presentations Series in New York on January 13-27

  40. 13/01 21:14

    Monoclonal antibody doses already allocated to qualifying patients in Greece

  41. 13/01 20:23

    Ferries to Crete island leaving on Thursday night as weather improves

  42. 13/01 20:08

    Asymptomatic people with Covid may resume daily activities after 5-day isolation

  43. 13/01 20:00

    Diaspora Greeks now able to e-register family changes through consulates

  44. 13/01 19:13

    Greece records 20,409 new Covid-19 infections and 80 fatalities on Thursday

  45. 13/01 18:55

    Greek PM on TV interview: Second increase in minimum wage on May 1

  46. 13/01 18:03

    UN report underscores significance of tourism for economic recovery in 2022

  47. 13/01 15:31

    Ski resort on Mount Pelion in Thessaly of Greece opens on Friday

  48. 13/01 13:52

    Focus Bari research: Why 17% of Greeks still refuse to get vaccinated against Covid

  49. 13/01 11:27

    IATA: Air passenger traffic improved during November

  50. 12/01 18:36

    Good Housekeeping: The ultimate Greece holiday destinations to visit this summer

  51. 12/01 16:26

    London Times support return of Elgin Marbles to Greece after 50 years

  52. 12/01 16:23

    City of Athens provides heated shelters for homeless citizens during bad weather

  53. 12/01 15:20

    Greek PM: Our goal is the creation of 86,000 job positions during 2022

  54. 12/01 14:59

    Greece extends COVID-19 measures and will fine unvaccinated over-60’s

  55. 12/01 13:42

    How workers issue a positive rapid test certificate for leave of absence in Greece

  56. 12/01 13:36

    Greek government spokesperson: Too early to speak about relaxing measures

  57. 12/01 13:06

    Greek government to announce interventions regarding VAT on basic products

  58. 12/01 12:03

    High demand for experiences and spending rise on travel in 2022: TripAdvisor - Ipsos

  59. 12/01 10:33

    'Diomedes' weather front brings snowfall and strong winds in Greece

  60. 11/01 21:21

    32,694 new Covid-19 cases and 80 fatalities recorded in Greece during last 24 hours

  61. 11/01 20:12

    Tourism revenue reaches pre-COVID levels in Cyprus in October 2021

  62. 11/01 19:28

    IATA: Supply chain disruptions halve November 2021 air cargo growth

  63. 11/01 16:42

    Fourth dose of vaccine approved for the immunocompromised in Greece

  64. 11/01 16:17

    Greek FM meets with Angola's Secretary of State for External Relations

  65. 11/01 15:44

    Severe weather causes settlement evacuation in Thessaly Region of Greece (videos)

  66. 11/01 14:25

    Greek Health Minister: The pandemic will peak during the coming weeks

  67. 11/01 13:51

    Mountain hotels' occupancy rates drop in Greece

  68. 11/01 12:59

    Greece's Development Minister hints at lower VAT on certain products

  69. 11/01 10:54

    Media report: Greek schools reopening seen bringing record COVID-19 cases

  70. 10/01 18:13

    French-Greek filmmaker's new work 'Gener8ion' postponed due to Covid-19

  71. 10/01 17:03

    'Greece and France in the 19th century' event to be organized in Sorbonne university

  72. 10/01 16:57

    27,766 new Covid-19 cases and 85 fatalities in Greece during the last 24 hours

  73. 10/01 16:37

    Greek Foreign Ministry donates one million Covid-19 vaccines to Nigeria (video)

  74. 10/01 15:46

    Fagan fragment placement ceremony held at the Athens Acropolis Museum

  75. 10/01 15:34

    Greek PM: Open schools can serve as a harbinger of an open society

  76. 10/01 13:33

    Greek Education Ministry: 15,547 self-tests positive by Sunday evening

  77. 10/01 12:07

    5.3 earthquake hits near Florina in northwestern Greece late on Sunday (videos)

  78. 10/01 10:42

    Winter sales commence in Greece on Monday

  79. 09/01 19:31

    Greece and United States conduct joint military exercise off island of Crete (video)

  80. 09/01 18:10

    Greece records 18,592 new Covid-19 cases and 66 fatalities in last 24 hours

  81. 09/01 13:36

    French-Greek filmmaker's new work 'Gener8ion' at Athens Onassis Foundation January 15

  82. 09/01 12:24

    Greek Tourism Minister: Positive messages over sector prospects

  83. 09/01 11:17

    40,000 more Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 12 years old available in Greece

  84. 08/01 14:01

    AP: Culture Ministry orders investigation over movie with sex scene at Acropolis

  85. 08/01 13:56

    'Fagan fragment' to be presented at the Athens Acropolis Museum on Monday

  86. 08/01 11:11

    29,334 new Covid-19 cases and 78 fatalities recorded in Greece during last 24 hours

  87. 07/01 21:15

    Bill overhauling Greek insurance agency EFKA is posted for 15-day public consultation

  88. 07/01 20:26

    Greek government grants $452 million in Energy Financial Relief (video)

  89. 07/01 20:07

    Greek exports soar 47.2% in November

  90. 07/01 18:30

    Weather in Greece expected to worsen during next week

  91. 07/01 18:22

    Dimitria Festival logo wins silver for Thessaloniki at International Design Awards

  92. 07/01 16:33

    Feast of the Epiphany marked by Greek Orthodox community in Tarpon Springs

  93. 07/01 14:41

    Greek administration includes 55 new projects worth 3.35 billion euros in Recovery Fund

  94. 06/01 13:14

    Travel: Skiing in Crete featured in New York Times article

  95. 06/01 12:51

    German report: Only Greece and Portugal in European South can reduce debt in next 20 years

  96. 06/01 12:42

    Greek government sets 5,000-euro fine for overcharging for PCR or rapid testing

  97. 05/01 23:26

    AP report: Now 9 out of 10 new COVID-19 cases attributed to Omicron variant

  98. 05/01 21:39

    270,000 extra vaccination slots made available for next 10 days in Greece

  99. 05/01 21:31

    Attiki Odos in Greece addresses global shortage of e-pass devices for tolls

  100. 05/01 21:22

    Minister: Vaccination certificate to last seven months for all age groups in Greece