Archeology Headlines of September 2010

In September 2010, new headlines have dealt with the discoveries of ancient places, people and artifacts. In this article, you will learn archeology news reported in France and Greece, including a skeleton covered in gold and a cult temple.

Skeleton Covered in Gold Found

Greek archeologists excavating in the island of Crete have uncovered a skeleton covered with gold foil in a grave that dates back 2,700 years ago. It is estimated that more than 3,000 tiny gold ornaments once covered the body of the deceased. The gold was attached to a shroud that wrapped the body of a female skeleton. Archeologists also reported that the entire length of the grave was covered with small pieces of gold foil in a variety of shapes , square and circular.
The grave was part of a twin burial site situated close to the ancient town of Eleutherna. In recent years, cemeteries in the area have provided a great deal of interesting and valuable artifacts for archeologists to explore.

The gold embellishments measures from 1 to 4 centimeters long and had been sewn onto the shroud. The material of the covering had completely rotted away except for a few off-white threads that remained. Because of the presence of gold, archeologist believe the woman belonged to high society or possessed religious status. A second skeleton in a large jar sealing with a stone slab that weighed more than ½ ton was also found. The body was also hidden behind a false wall , a method used to deter grave robbers.

Other finds of the grave include a copper bowl, pottery, hundreds of beads (made out of amber, rock crystal, and other materials), and a gold pendent shaped in the form of a bee goddess. Perfume bottles imported from Egypt or another similar locations were also found in the grave.

3rd Century Temple Uncovered

France is another international location that has uncovered ties to the ancient past. Archeologists have discovered a temple dedicated to Mithras that dates back to the 3rd century AD. During an excavation at Angers, France, the remains of a temple dedicated to Mithras (an Indo-Iranian god) was uncovered. The temple was small and shaped like a rectangle, where worshippers gathered to enjoy banquets. It was here that sacrifices in the name of the god took place.

A bas-relief of the god Mithras was found at the site. He was wearing his Phrygian cap and was seen slaughtering a bull. The image of the god showed signs of intentional damage that took place in ancient times. It is thought that early Christians were responsible for the destruction as an attempt to suppress the pagan cult.

Artifacts found at the temple include oil lamps, around 200 coins, fragments of a chandelier, and a crucifix fibula made out of bronze that dates back to the 4th century. The ancient temple also showed large quantities of cockerel bones, which indicated the presence of past cultic banquets because this was a favored dish during this time.