Ancient Graves Found in Greece

Athens, Greece
Associated Press
March 11, 2008

Greek workers discovered around a thousand graves, some filled with ancient treasures, while excavating for a subway system in the historic city of Thessaloníki, the state archaeological authority said Monday.

Some of the graves, which date from the first century B.C. to the 5th century A.D., contained jewelry, coins, and various pieces of art, the Greek archaeological service said in a statement.

Thessaloníki was founded around 315 B.C. and flourished during the Roman and Byzantine eras. Today it is the Mediterranean country's second largest city.

Most of the 886 graves were just east of the city center in what was the eastern cemetery during Roman and Byzantine times. Those graves ranged from traces of wooden coffins left in simple holes in the ground to marble enclosures in five-room family mausoleums.

A separate group of 94 graves was found near the city's train station, in what was once part of the city's western cemetery.

More findings were expected as digging for the Thessaloníki metro continues. Digging started in 2006 and the first 13 stations are expected to be done by the end of 2012. A ten-station extension to the west and east has been announced.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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