for National Geographic News
A Roman-era theater and tomb—complete with jewelry, pottery, and bronze offerings—have been unearthed on a Greek island, the country's Ministry of Culture announced this week.
The discovery on Kefaloniá—the first such find on an island in the Ionian Sea, which separates Greece and Italy—may suggest a previously unknown route between the two ancient cultures, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted experts as saying (Greece map).
Located near the village of Fiscardo, an important ancient maritime port, the newly found site measures 26 feet by 20 feet (8 meters by 6 meters) and was apparently overlooked by looters, the culture ministry said.
The find contains five burials, including a large vaulted grave and a stone sarcophagus.
Archaeologists also found gold earrings, rings, and leaves that may have been attached to ceremonial clothing, as well as glass and clay vases, bronze artifacts decorated with masks, a bronze lock, and copper coins, the Associated Press reports.
"It is the first time such a monument is discovered, not only in Kefaloniá but in all the Ionian Sea islands," according to a statement from the Ministry of Culture.
"From the finds so far, we see that Fiscardo was an important naval station between Greece and Italy in antiquity."
The front of the tomb is "particularly interesting," with a stone door that still pivots perfectly on two stone points, the ministry said.
"It is a touching detail that the door still opens and closes to this day just as in antiquity," the ministry added.
Nearby excavations have also revealed what may be the remains of a small theater with four rows of seats and an orchestra section that appears to be in "excellent condition."
The theater is similar to Roman-style structures found in Ambracia in western Greece and Alexandria in Egypt.
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