Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jewels of Eleutherna

From the Straits Times:
ARCHAEOLOGISTS on the Greek island of Crete have unearthed the 2,900-year-old tomb of three women buried with jewels of surprisingly advanced skill, culture officials said on Friday.

The tomb in the ancient town of Eleutherna, near the modern city of Rethymno in northern Crete, held gold necklaces and medallions decorated with lion heads and the forms of ancient gods, excavation supervisor Nikos Stambolidis said.

'The jewels are of a style that appeared in the Hellenistic Era (many centuries later),' said Stambolidis, director of the Cycladic Museum in Athens.

'We had no knowledge that this level of craft existed earlier,' he told AFP.

The elaborate nature of the tomb indicates that its three occupants, two of whom were adolescents, were likely priestesses or princesses.

A number of offerings including scarabs, amber seals and earthenware were also found in the burial chamber which was two metres high.

The town of Eleutherna is believed to have reached its peak in the Geometric Era around 3,000 years ago. Excavation in the last 25 years has so far yielded over 500 items of clay, metal and ivory including sculptures, tools and weapons.

One of the most prized sculptures of the Louvre Museum in Paris, a limestone female statue called the Lady of Auxerre, is believed to have come from Eleutherna.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How amazing! I'd never have heard of this discovery otherwise.
The Lady of Auxerre is fascinating. I remember her from Sunday pm visits to the Louvre (it was free on Sunday afternoons!) when I lived in Paris.