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Archaeologists Discover Eight Ancient Graves in Western Peloponnese

The bronze urn found in Ilia, Greece. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, archaeologists excavating a site in Ilia, a region in the western Peloponnese, recently discovered eight ancient graves spanning from the second to the fourth century BC.

The eight tombs discovered during digs in September of this year were located on the burial grounds of the ancient region of Elis, home to the city of Olympia.

Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Notably, four rectangular grave sites, all lined with rocks, and three large funerary containers, called pithoi, were found at the site, as well as an individual coffin covered by ceramic tiles and a marble grave stele.

Inside one of the pithoi, which were so large that they were often used as coffins themselves, archaeologists discovered an ornately decorated bronze urn, with its base.

The urn features a floral design on its handles and lion heads fill the space between its handles and its rim. A bronze mirror with a relief was also found in the funerary container.

These funerary objects found inside the pithos date it to around the late fourth to the early third century BC.

The funerary stele found at Ilia. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture.

The burial grounds at Ilia have been a rich source for historians regarding ancient Greek burial practices. Since the ancient cemetery was discovered, over 200 grave sites have been unearthed there, many of which date from the Late Classical to the Hellenistic period.

Archaeologists have found a wealth of graves and funerary objects at Elis, helping them to piece together local funerary customs.


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