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8 October 2004
Coffins shed light on Ancient Greeks

The discovery of two large limestone coffins dating back 3,000 years could indicate that the ancient Greeks may have been more technologically advanced than previously thought. Each of the coffins, also known as a sarcophagus, was found in Ancient Corinth and dates back to 900 to 875 BCE - a period known as the early Geometric period. The name derives from the art of the period, mostly found on pots, with its characteristically linear designs and dots and lines forming zigzags and angles.
     Guy Sanders, in charge of the digs carried out by the American School of Classical Studies, said the enormous weight of each coffin - 3.33 tonnes and 1.8 tonnes - suggests the ancient Corinthians must have used a mechanical system to lower the sarcophagi into graves instead of sheer muscle power. "To lower the sarcophagus into place in a controlled movement requires some kind of temporary superstructure over the grounds so they can control the vertical movement of the stone," Sanders said.

Source: News.com.au (7 October 2004)

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