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2,300 Year-Old Golden Wreath Found On Head Of Buried Body In Greek Subway Dig

Illustration for article titled 2,300 Year-Old Golden Wreath Found On Head Of Buried Body In Greek Subway Dig

Subway construction workers in Thessaloniki, Greece, have uncovered a golden olive branch that dates back approximately 2,300 years. Located at what will someday be the Republic Station stop, the wreath was found inside a large, box-like Macedonian tomb — and it was still on the head of a buried female body. The beautifully preserved wreath dates back to the Early Hellenistic Period, at the end of the Fourth to early Third Century B.C.E.

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Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and was founded back in 315 B.C.E by King Cassander of Macedon and named after his wife Thessalonike — the half-sister of Alexander the Great.

The discovery was confirmed by K.B. Misailidou, Director of 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. And amazingly, it's now the ninth wreath to be uncovered during these subway excavations (which started back in 2008).

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Illustration for article titled 2,300 Year-Old Golden Wreath Found On Head Of Buried Body In Greek Subway Dig

Source: Archaeology News Network and Greek Reporter with a h/t to A Blog About History.

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DISCUSSION

I've never been good at looking at really old tombs and picking things out. When they say it's still on her head, they mean the black spot that was presumably once organic material as "on her head" or did they move the wreath off of the bones?

How long do regular, untreated human bones last underground before turning to dirt? (dust? goop?) I know that we only tend to get flesh samples in cases of freeze drying or mummification (either natural or manmade), but I have no idea how long it takes for bones to break down. Guess I should have taken an archaeology course in college, huh?