Thanks to the careful work of Greek archaeologists we learnt a lot about Greece’s past. Here’s your month-by-month guide into the year that was.
A rare 2,000-year-old bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo mysteriously resurfaced in the Gaza Strip after having been lost for centuries. A local fisherman scooped the 500-kg god from the sea bed and carried it home on a donkey cart unaware of its value until others made him aware. He put it on Ebay with a $500,000 price tag well under its value. Police swiftly seized the statue and are investigating the find.
Thessaloniki metro works stumbled across a wealth of ancient ruins. The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) recommended that the Attiko Metro spend another 42 million euros on the excavations. “The archaeological digs for the Thessaloniki metro have revealed significant discoveries to do with the heart of the city from the era of Cassander, at the end of the 4th century BC, right up to now,” said Aristotle University Archaeology Professor Michalis Tiverios. A total of 135,000 artifacts were found since the time excavations began.
Excavations by the Cyprus Antiquities Department at the site of Katalymmata ton Plakoton at the Akrotiri Peninsula on Cyprus excavated a marble stele with a bust of Byzantine emperor Heraclius personified as Alexander the Great.
A team of archaeologists and historians from the Polish Centre for Archaeology thought they struck upon one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the history of mankind, when they unearthed a mausoleum made of marble and gold while conducting an excavation in Alexandria. “We may have discovered the tomb of Alexander the Great”, the members of the team said, filled with joy. The mausoleum was discovered in the “heart” of Alexandria, in an area known as Kom El Dikka, only 60 meters away from the Mosque of Nebi Daniel, Arabic tradition maintained the tomb of the Greek commander was to be found. The tomb held a broken sarcophagus made of crystal glass and 37 bones of an adult man. The mausoleum is dedicated to the “King of Kings and Conqueror of the world, Alexander III” and the inscriptions it bears are mostly in Greek with a few Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Penises galore were found at Astypalaia’s peninsula. The graffiti gave insight into the private lives of soldiers stationed nearby. One specific statement in the mid-sixth century B.C. proclaiming: “Νικασίτιμος οἶφε Τιμίονα” (Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona). Dr. Andreas Vlachopoulos, who specializes in prehistoric archaeology, says that sexual desire between men was not taboo in ancient Greece so his real area of interest was the use of the past continuous in the graffiti that indicates the length of the sexual act itself.
The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his entourage made their way to Amphipolis and said “We stand before an extremely important find!” With these words he fueled global imagination, beginning the saga of the Amphipolis tomb. According to the archeology.org website the great finding of Amphipolis easily earned a spot on the websites list of the Top 10 Discoveries of 2014. Amphipolis tomb dates back to the time of Alexander the Great and is a prime example of how archaeology can captivate the public imagination. According to the article ever since the discovery of the largest known Greek tomb was announced in August, archaeology buffs around the world have been eagerly awaiting each successive bit of news from the site
The world’s largest solar boat, the catamaran PlanetSolar, embarked on a month-long mission to find one of the oldest sites inhabited by man in Europe – the Franchthi cave in the Argolic Gulf where early Europeans lived between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods. The cave was inhabited continuously for 35,000 years but scientists began the lookout for the village that they moved into after abandoning the cave.
An international team of archaeologists and engineers descended into the ancient wreck off Greece’s southern coast using the high-tech exosuit to get closer than ever to the shipwreck that had once yielded the world’s oldest computer, the Antikythera Mechanism. The antiquities rescued from beneath the sea off the remote island include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue.
Deep-sea divers from the Global Underwater Explorers worked with Italian archaeologists to uncover a 2,200-year-old sacrificial alter from an ancient Greece off the coast of italy.
Archaeologists in Greece uncovered a rare statue preserved in the muddy depths of an ancient well in Piraeus. The statue was roughly half a meter tall. The male figure was found without its head and dates back to 100-86 BC.
Archaeologists from the National Hellenic Research Foundation and the Ephorate of Undersea Archaeology diving in the shallow waters off the Greek island of Delos found the ruins of an ancient settlement from the 1st Century B.C. complete with a pottery workshop and other buildings. The settlement that lay at a depth of about six feet was dubbed “the underwater Pompeii”. Nobody knows what caused the city’s demise. The island’s importance in antiquity is well-known given that nobody was allowed to give birth or die at the site.
An ancient wine cup is discovered to have one of the earliest depictions of constellations. This revelation was made after researcher from the University of Missouri realized that the markings on the 2,600-year-old skyphos at the Lamia Archaeology Museum were actually the patterns of constellations.
An unlooted ancient tomb along with burial offerings allegedly belonging to a man who died around the time of Alexander the Great was unearthed at Aigai, Northern Greece.