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Classical era grave steles unearthed at Tinos cemetery


A significant number of grave steles dated back to the Classical period, some of them carved in very high relief, were revealed during an excavation conducted by the University of Athens at a Classical era cemetery in Xobourgo on the Greek island of Tinos.

Classical era grave steles unearthed at Tinos cemetery
The classical cemetery on the south-eastern slopes of the Xobourgo hill
[Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture]
The importance of the sculptures is immense as they provide information on the classical sculpture history of the island.


According to Culture Ministry's announcement, the cemetery is situated at the southeastern foothills of Xobourgo and was the main cemetery of ancient settlement that developed in the Classical era.

The settlement, founded just before 1,000 BC, was surrounded by huge walls and was initially used as "refuge settlement". Later, it developed into the most important settlement of Tinos which constituted the main economic and political centre of the island until its abandonment at the end of the 4th century BC.

Classical era grave steles unearthed at Tinos cemetery
Tiled roof coffin found at the Classical cemetery on the south-eastern slopes 
of the Xobourgo hill [Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture]
Classical era grave steles unearthed at Tinos cemetery
Fragments of grave stele in situ at the Classical cemetery on the south-eastern slopes 
of the Xobourgo hill [Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture]
The cemetery lies on two consecutive terraces on a hill on either side of the burial road leading to the settlement.


The tombs discovered so far on the lower terrace are for the most part covered with tiles.Stone caskets and two sarcophagi (one clay and one stone), as well as several pots used for the burial of infants, were found in the cemetery.

Archaeologists discovered that there had also been funeral pyres between the actual graves. The dead were buried with few burial objects, but when these were found, they were usually vessels imported from Attica.

Classical era grave steles unearthed at Tinos cemetery
Lower part of a grave stele (end of 5th century BC)
[Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture]
Classical era grave steles unearthed at Tinos cemetery
Grave stele depicting a man with his slave (4th century BC)
[Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture]
Natural, untreated stones marked the simple graves on one terrace. But other areas of the burial ground featured a number of structures of various sizes to support monuments and to serve as the bases for exquisite sculptures.

Author: Philip Chrysopoulos | Source: Greek Reporter [August 09, 2019]

TANN

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