Shackled remains found at ancient Greek site

Shackled remains at ancient Greek site tell tale of intrigue

Eighty or more shackled skeletal remains discovered near downtown Athens could have been the victims of a mass execution in ancient Greece, possibly during unrest in Athenian society when aristocrats battled each other for power, say archaeologists.

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Dr. Stella Chryssoulaki, head of excavations, says most of the victims were very young.

She said: "They have been buried with respect. We are not talking about people who had a difficult life, such as slaves, nor people who were unknown to those that buried them."

One leading theory says the victims were supporters of an Olympic champion who staged a failed coup in 632 BC and fled, but whose backers were killed.

Scientists say their mass grave was discovered in a large cemetery reserved for everyday residents of ordinary neighborhoods, not leaders or prominent figures.

Dr. Chryssoulaki added: "It's of particular interest in order for us to understand their daily life, the population, the state of public health, but also their views on death. You know, a cemetery is a first and last photograph in antiquity of those people that pass from life to death."

Scientists hope DNA testing will help identify the victims, until then the mute skeletons hold fast to their ancient story of mystery.

New UNESCO World Heritage sites 2015
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New UNESCO World Heritage sites 2015

Where is it? Ephesus can be found in what used to be the estuary of the River Kaystros in Tyurkey.

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Where is it? The mountainous mid-western region of the Republic of Korea. 

What is it? These eight archaeological sites date back to 475 to 660 CE and include the  royal tombs at Songsan-ri. These site are examples of the later period of the Baekje Kingdom. 

Where is it? The site can be found on the eastern bank of the River Jordan, north of the Dead Sea, Jordan

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Where is it? On the northern coast of Sicily.

What is it? This series of nine civil and religious structures date back to the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130 - 1194). It is comprised of two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale.

Where is it? Rjukan is in Vestfjorddalen, between Møsvatn and Tinnsjå.

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Where is it? There are five mission complexes found along the San Antonio River basin in southern Texas, as well as a ranch further south.

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Where is it? In the port city of Hamburg.

What is it? These two densely populated areas exemplify the effects of the rapid growth in international trade during the later 19th century to early 20th century.

Where is it? In the south-west of Iran, in the lower Zagros Mountains.

What is it? The property includes a number of archaeological mounds and the excavated archaeological monuments contain several layers of urban settlements that represent the anicent Elamite, Persian and Parthian cultures. 

Where is it? On the slopes of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune south of the city of Dijon.

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