6th October (WNN) — Scientists announced Wednesday that analysis of fragments of charred bone from an eighth-century tomb of Nestor’s Cup showed that not one, but at least three human bodies were buried at the site in Italy.
The tomb, discovered in 1954 and on the island of modern-day Ischia, was long believed to contain the death of a young man aged about 10 to 14 years. The archaeological site, formerly called Pithekosai, was notable for the broken wine cup that contained one of the earliest surviving examples of Greek writing.
It read, in translation: “I am Nestor’s cup, good to drink. Whoever drinks this cup empty, the will of the beautiful-crowned Aphrodite will take hold of him.”
Researchers from the University of Padua in Italy microscopically analyzed the remains to try to answer the question of who was buried with the famous cup.
The research article, published Wednesday, “a vast body of literature has attempted to explain the extravagance of the tomb’s fine complex, the unique connection between the symposia of Nestor’s Cup inscription, and the erotic proclamation.” In plus one, read.
Researchers studied 195 charred bone fragments, finding that at least 45 belonged to animals, including goats and possibly dogs. Animals were buried with human remains to serve as food or companions.
Of the 130 fragments of human bone, scientists were able to identify characteristics of different life stages, indicating that the tomb contained the bodies of at least three individuals.
The article states that the discovery raises further questions about the tomb. Researchers have been unable to determine the identity of the people buried in the grave, their age at the time of death, how they died or why they were buried with the cup.
“Our research rewrites the history and previous archaeological interpretation of the tomb, shedding new light on the funeral practices, culture and society of Greek migrants from the ancient western Mediterranean,” the authors, led by Melania Gigante, said in a statement.
“We are sure that our study may be a new methodological step towards reconstructing the life-histories of people in ancient times, even in the case of poor preservation and/or complexity of skeletal assemblages,” They said.