TALK OF THE TOWN LEADS STRAIGHT TO DISCOVERY
In a cafe in Cyprus, the University of Cincinnati scholar overheard conversations about an ancient tomb. Her interest piqued, she listened intently as the locals described an apparently undisturbed archaeological site. It might be only a tall tale or a local legend, Gisela Walberg thought, but what if...?
"I had heard an awful lot of local talk about a possible tomb in the area. A woman alone going to the local cafenia is not the thing to do, but it was a good place to talk to people.
"I heard so much about the tomb, I thought I had better investigate. I became afraid if I didn't, someone else might - namely a looter," says Walberg, UC's Marion Rawson Professor of Aegean Prehistory.
The tomb proved to be the only one of three that had not been plundered. "Looters often smash things up, so when we came upon this tomb, where the artifacts remained in place, we knew we found something big," she says.
"I was worried we would not be able to deal with so much in the time we had left," Walberg says.
One rare discovery proved to be a jar, or pithos, containing unburnt human bones. Human remains were usually burned if placed in a jar. The skeletal remains belonged to someone who suffered from a recurrent bone infection, a condition that caused the bones to become extremely porous - "almost like lace," Walberg says. The diagnosis is the work of Alexis Boutin, a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
They're young but not puppies. It's not clear why there are so many together in this spot. There is a much later, Hellenistic well from the Agora in Athens with numerous dog skeletons together with bones of human infants, but the significance of that find is unclear, too," Walberg says.
Built at the end of a river flowing from the Troodos Mountains, Bamboula flourished between the 13th and 11th centuries B.C. Walberg and the team will return in summer 2003 for further investigations. The work is funded by UC's Louise Taft Semple Fund.
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