Archaeologists have unearthed the ancient burial of a woman lying on a bronze bed near the town of Kozani in northern Greece. It dates from the first century BC.
Representations of mermaids decorate the posts of the bed. The bed also displays the image of a bird holding a serpent in its mouth, a symbol of the ancient Greek god Apollo. The woman’s head was covered in golden laurel leaves that were likely part of a crown, Areti Chondrogianni-Metoki, director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Kozani, told Live Science in an email. The wooden parts of the bed have decayed.
Gold threads, likely from embroidery, were found on the woman’s hands, Chondrogianni-Metoki said. Additionally, four clay pots and a glass container were buried next to the remains. No other person was buried with her.
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Archaeologists are currently analyzing the skeleton to determine the woman’s medical condition, her age at the time of her death and the possible cause of her death. Artifacts found with her suggest she likely came from a wealthy background and may have belonged to a royal family.
“We don’t know much about the history of this area [during the first century B.C.]”, Chondrogianni-Metoki told Live Science. Thousands of years ago, Kozani was near an important city called Mavropigi (the site is now a village) which housed a shrine dedicated to Apollo, said Chondrogianni-Metoki.
Historical records show that during the first century BC, Roman control and influence in Greece was on the rise. The Romans destroyed the city of Corinth in 146 BC. AD and plundered Athens in 86 BC. AD In 48 BC. Julius Caesar defeat a force led by Pompey; victory made Caesar the de facto ruler of Rome.
It is not known exactly when in the first century BC this woman lived or if she would have witnessed or heard of any of these historical events. The remains of the woman are currently kept at the Archaeological Museum of Aiani in Greece.
Live Science contacted academics unaffiliated with the research for further information about the discovery, but none were available for comment at the time of publication.
Originally posted on Live Science.