NEWS

Ancient graves at old airport

Excavations on the site of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon have uncovered a large ancient cemetery with richly furnished graves that include an ornate family enclosure decorated with relief sculptures. Archaeologist Dina Kaza, who heads the ongoing dig that started last September under the old Olympic Airways maintenance hangars, told Kathimerini that inscriptions found in the enclosure identified the cemetery as part of the ancient deme (district) of Euonymon. «We knew the airport and the surrounding area was of archaeological interest, but were not aware of the precise spots,» she said. The excavation was carried out during preparatory work for a tram depot to be built on the site. Over 150 graves have been found, dating from the seventh to the fourth centuries BC. The impressive family enclosure with its marble funerary reliefs was built in the second half of the fourth century – Alexander the Great’s time. Previous finds on the former airport grounds include a number of unexploded World War II bombs.