Skip to comments.2,700-Year-Old Fabric Found in Greece
Posted on 05/10/2007 10:53:22 PM PDT by FreedomCalls
(AP) -- Archaeologists in Greece have discovered a rare 2,700-year-old piece of fabric inside a copper urn from a burial they speculated imitated the elaborate cremation of soldiers described in Homer's "Iliad."
The yellowed, brittle material was found in the urn during excavation in the southern town of Argos, a Culture Ministry announcement said Wednesday
"This is an extremely rare find, as fabric is an organic material which decomposes very easily," said archaeologist Alkistis Papadimitriou, who headed the dig. She said only a handful of such artifacts have been found in Greece.
The cylindrical urn also contained dried pomegranates - offerings linked with the ancient gods of the underworld - along with ashes and charred human bones from an early 7th century B.C. cremation.
Papadimitriou said the material was preserved for nearly 3,000 years by the corroding copper urn. "Copper oxides killed the microbes which normally destroy fabric," she told The Associated Press.
Conservation experts from Athens will work on the fragile find.
"Our first concern is to save it," Papadimitriou said. "Afterward, it will undergo laboratory tests to tell us about the precise fabric and weaving techniques."
The burial was the only cremation among a half-dozen closely grouped graves found on the plot, which was scheduled for development.
"Cremation was very unusual in Argos, and this too makes it a special find," Papadimitriou said. "In my opinion, an affluent citizen may have wanted to imitate a funerary custom described by Homer to stand out among his peers buried nearby - who were not cremated."
The poet's "Iliad" and "Odyssey" enjoyed huge popularity throughout Greece. Composed during the 8th century B.C, and thought to be inspired by a war four centuries earlier, the Iliad describes slain heroes being cremated in elaborate funerals, which fell out of fashion in later times.
Modern Argos in the northern Peloponnese, some 90 miles south of Athens, is built on top of one of the most famous cities of ancient Greece. Also named Argos, the ancient city was mentioned by Homer as the seat of a Mycenaean hero-king who fought with the Greek army in Troy. It flourished throughout antiquity.
This sounds fabricated.
Cool I want to wash the car this weekend anyway.
Made up of whole cloth?
It was that costly in ancient times to burn a body?
Joan Rivers first dress?
A rolled up scroll with it said “Light starch. Pick up Wednesday after 5pm.”
Heh. Is there any particular reason this fabric didn’t disintegrate over time like all the other fabrics did?
Hey, they found my old underwear!
From the article: "Papadimitriou said the material was preserved for nearly 3,000 years by the corroding copper urn. 'Copper oxides killed the microbes which normally destroy fabric,' she told The Associated Press."
Sort of an accidental anti-bacterial agent.
Awesome, thanks for the info. Live and learn, eh? Archaeologists ought to check out each and every copper urn now.
So this great discovery is owed to a Grecian urn.
Synthetics can have a very long shelf life if treated properly!
Admin Mod, ban us before we kill again!
Sigh. So much evil in the world. LOL
Depends. Is he on the duckway?
Someone’s crusty pantsuit turned up just in time for the 2008 election?
No, but they didn't want to effect global warming.......
I would not handle “Yellow Fabric” that was from the clothing of a deceased person.
Not a big fan of reading posted articles?
Grecian Poly Esther.........
An odd burial for the time? The deceased was not laid to rest according to the Grecian formula?
A Weaver's View of the Catal Huyuk ControversyIn was enlightening to read Mellaart's excavation reports from the 1960s  as well as other early writings. Contradictions between those texts and the current work indicated more than a runaway kilim theory and an overly fertile imagination at work. Technical and stylistic problems now combined with incriminating disclosures to reveal what seemed to be careless, poorly conceived fabrications -- possibly a deliberate hoax... The current controversy is not the first instance in which James Mellaart has offered flimsy evidence as the sole "proof" of revolutionary archaeological findings. In the mysterious Dorak Affair... Mellaart claims to have uncovered a cache of spectacular royal treasures (c. 2500 B.C.?) in a young woman's Izmir home in 1958, along with archaeological notes and a textile sketch -- a drawing of an excavator's drawing of a carbonized rug which supposedly had disintegrated after it was unearthed. A few months later, Mellaart published drawings of the objects in a London newspaper. In the meantime, however, all of the artifacts and their owner vanished. As for the alleged textile, Mellaart tells us it had pattern and color "well enough preserved to be recorded" but was so decayed it might have been either a "kilim" or "coloured felt." He says, "I prefer the kilim interpretation." In fact, Mellaart's colored design, published by Seyton Lloyd, is too linear for tapestry. The relevant aspect of this episode is, of course, Mellaart's attempt to establish a milestone in textile history -- a 4,500-year-old kilim -- on the basis of nothing tangible. A sketch of a sketch is shaky evidence at best, if evidence at all. The parallels are obvious between this case and Mellaart's current efforts to establish an 8,000-year-old kilim-weaving tradition in Anatolia. It is amusing that a black and white line drawing representing the alleged carbonized Dorak textile in The Goddess from Anatolia (Vol. III, Fig. XXVII, No. 3, and at the left here), now a sketch-of-a-sketch-of-a-sketch, has its own new and bizarre problems. It actually shows as missing nearly all of the parts which are present in Mellaart's color drawing of the same object, and vice versa.
by Marla Mallett
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Might have thrown a hella’ of a party to go along with it!