Temporary Removal of Ancient Mass Grave in Athens Approved



The mass grave of the ”desmotes” was a disturbing discovery, with most of the skeletons being found in positions proving that the victims had been brutally tortured before their deaths.

Greece’s Ministry of Culture recently gave the green light for the temporary removal of skeletons in the ancient mass grave discovered in 2016 near the Esplanáda in Faliro, Attica.

A total of 79 skeletons were found during the construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC), in one of the most important  — yet horrific — archaeological discoveries of the past decade.

The 79 individuals buried there, also known as ”desmotes” (prisoners, captives), were found in this mass grave, all chained together with one another.

Archaeological evidence showed that they had been men who were on the wrong side of a huge struggle between Aristocrats and Tyrants in seventh-century BC Athens.

More specifically, the date may connect the prisoners with the Cylonian Affair, in which Cylon, a former Olympic athlete, attempted unsuccessfully to seize power. It is thought that these shackled men may have been his supporters.

The Ministry of Culture decided to temporarily remove the skeletons in order to protect them from the weather, despite an awning already being in place.

During the time of their absence, a new museum will be erected at the site to honor these ancient Athenians who suffered a tragic and painful death during an especially turbulent and violent era between political rivals in the city.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has already donated five million euros for the construction of the museum, which will be designed by world-acclaimed architect Renzo Piano, who has created the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris among many other monumental buildings.