Hellenistic tomb discovered in Chieti, Italy

A Hellenistic-era burial with spectacular grave goods was discovered in Chieti, Italy this week. Credit: Facebook / Soprintendenza Archaeologia Belle Arti

A spectacular Hellenistic-era tomb featuring elegant grave goods was just discovered in Chieti, Italy last week following a public works project.

The discovery of the burial, from the 4th to the 3rd century BC.

Incredibly, the Hellenistic-era burial site was only inches underground, miraculously escaping the many deep holes dug for the creation of cisterns during the Roman period as well as the 800s.

Hellenistic tomb in an area once populated by Illyrian Greeks

Abruzzo is located in central Italy, along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The area was inhabited even before the Paleolithic era. Large settlements have been discovered near the town of Chieti in the valley of the Foro river. In prehistoric times, Abruzzo was inhabited by Italic tribes as well as Illyrian Greek peoples, who established many settlements on the Adriatic coast.

The tomb from the Hellenistic era is unusual for its almost quadrangular shape defined by a perimeter of stone slabs. The burial structure is not only twice the size of a normal grave; archaeologists say it also appears unique in its content.

Hellenistic burial
The site of a Hellenistic-era burial site in Chieti, Italy. The grave of a wealthy woman was located just before the New Year as a result of ongoing public works in the city. The Abruzzo region contained a number of Greek colonies at this time. Credit: Facebook / Soprintentenza Archaeologia Belle Arti

The Hellenistic tomb includes funerary objects such as vases, amulets

Inside, they found the remains of a small woman who was accompanied on her journey to the afterlife by a very rich array of bronze, molten glass and ceramic vases, some of which were imported. ; his clothes were decorated with bronze elements, as well as amulets.

The excavation of the tomb is now complete, leaving the researchers to study the objects they found and conduct further anthropological analyzes of the body as well as what they found in the vases and vessels found alongside it.

In addition, they will study the context of the tomb as well as all the layers that have accumulated above and around it over the centuries.

Archaeologists hope their study of the tomb will allow them to better define a distant phase in Italian history, with recent findings already suggesting a wealthy society with an economy based on extensive contacts with other regions, as well as on the use of imported goods.

The Greeks established colonies from the 8th century BC

The first ancient Greek colonies were established outside Greece as early as the 8th century BC.

A number of cities and settlements were established, spreading Hellenism across Europe, Africa and Asia during these centuries, reaching a total of 500, which involved up to 60,000 Greek citizen settlers.

The founding of the colonies (αποικίαι, singular αποικία) was an organized enterprise of the large city-states, although in many cases it occurred through a collaboration of cities.

The locations to be colonized were carefully selected in advance, not only based on their potential business benefits, but also to provide security against looters.

The first Greek colony established outside present-day Greece was located in the Pithekousai Islands (now Ischia, Italy).

The colony was established by the Chalcidians and Eretrians between 770 and 760 BC. A few years later, the inhabitants of Chalkis and Kymi founded Kymi, facing the Pithekousai Islands, in what is now Campania in mainland Italy.

In the year 734 BC.

At the same time, Greek colonies began to settle in southern Italy, with Taranto, Sybaris and Kroton (Crotone) and Rhegium.

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