Tuesday, July 25, 2006

TREASURES IN LARISSA, GREECE

Several years ago I was with a UCLA archaeological team and we worked in Larissa, Greece, sorting out artifacts that had come from a dig some years before.

So to my delight, I read in one of my lists that recently a marble statue of Artemis was found near Larissa's ancient theater among a layer of more than 60 column drums, 600 Doric pillars and an expanse of marble stretching more than 140 meters. The headless statue was discovered in the area where researchers were digging for the ancient theater.

Soon after that discovery, a monumental marble stairway that took spectators to the theater was found.

The statue was found behind the stage. Among the columns were pieces of marble inscriptions, 100 of them so far, that shed light on the history of Larissa and the surrounding area.

The ancient theater was built during the reign of the Macdedonian King Antigonus Gonastas in the early 3rd century BC.

But what's particularly interesting to me, is that when we worked in Larissa in 1988, the theater was only slightly excavated. I remember walking down the road next to the slightly uncovered amphitheater. That road covered what now is being found. Almost 20 years ago Larissa was considered a minor town in the present and the past. What a find like this can do!

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