Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ancient Golden Wreaths Unearthed During Thessaloniki Metro Excavations

The ongoing construction of Thessaloniki's modern subway system has unearthed a trove of ancient gold wreaths, which had rested undisturbed in long-forgotten, unmarked cemeteries for some 2,300 years. Excavation crews working in Greece's second-largest city have discovered nine wreaths since the subway project began in 2006.  


According to the Greek Reporter, the ninth wreath was found within a large Macedonian tomb, adorning the head of its female occupant. Construction crews encountered the tomb in an ancient cemetery at what will be the Dimokratias Station stop.


“It’s not common. It’s an extraordinary finding,” Vasiliki Misailidou-Despotidou, director of 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities for Greece’s General Directorate of Antiquities, told FoxNews.com. “It happens quite seldom.”

In an amazing testament to the enduring qualities of gold, the wreath resembling an olive branch looked virtually new despite being buried for thousands of years. It was dated to the Early Hellenistic Era, at the end of the 4th century/early 3rd century BC.


The nine Thessaloniki wreaths share a common theme. They incorporate oak, olive, vine, laurel or myrtle leaves crafted in gold on a simple gold band meant to encircle the head. The delicate wreaths were intended as adornments for royal or aristocratic burials, according to Discovery News.

The Thessaloniki subway project has already yielded more than 23,000 ancient and medieval artifacts. The subway is scheduled for completion in 2017.

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