NEWS

Sarcophagus from 900 BC oldest yet found in Greece

Guy Sanders of the American School of Classical Studies discovered the oldest and heaviest sarcophagus ever found in Greece in Ancient Corinth. The 1.88×1.23×0.85-meter find weighs 2.3 metric tons and dates from 900 BC. It is made of stone and its discovery reveals that the ancient Corinthians were able to shift large stone masses 200 years earlier than hitherto known. The lid alone weighs 1.2 metric tons, The sarcophagus contained funeral gifts including 14 vases, cups, flasks and a knife. New evidence The find was one of many mentioned at the annual report of all the foreign archaeological schools in Greece on October 5. The Danish Archaeological School also had something to brag about. Its research, conducted with the Ephorate at Zea Harbor in Piraeus, has yielded new evidence of the boat sheds of the Classical period which housed some 200 boats, and about the size of the Athenian trireme. Recent research revealed that the boat sheds were 60 meters long, not 45 meters as was previously believed. The Danes made a further discovery: Since antiquity, the sea level has risen 2 meters in the area. The Canadian Archaeological Institute reported on its research with the Ephorate for Underwater Antiquities and the Greek Center for Marine Research (ELKTHE) into Persian shipwrecks. The Canadians found two bronze helmets on the Athos peninsula and have plans to seek more Persian wrecks in the tricky waters off Salamina. Doubtless with the intention of forging closer, more systematic cooperation, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis indicated that there would be more communication from now on, saying it was a priority for the ministry. «The aim is to have a one-day conference once you have reached conclusions about more elaborate reports,» said Tatoulis, who intends that two or three of the schools should present their work together in the spring. This year 17 foreign archaeological schools (some of them with a long history in Greece) were active at more than 50 archaeological sites. At Lefkanti in Evia, for example, research by the British School showed that the ancient inhabitants ate a healthy diet containing figs, pulses and cereals. The Dutch Institute discovered a Hellenistic town at Alos in Thessaloniki, while the German School’s work this year included restoration work at the Philippeion and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia and refurbishment of Kerameikos. The event early this month was a good opportunity to find out about the activities of the foreign schools in Greece. It might provide an opportunity to reinstitute the old system of an inventory of archaeological ephorates, so that we know who is doing what.