New excavations at an ancient cemetery in northern Greece have yielded gold jewelry, copper and iron weapons and pottery.
Archaeologists digging in part of a vast burial ground near Pella, the ancient Macedonians' capital, have unearthed 43 new graves dating from 650-279 B.C., the Greek Culture Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
The dead included 20 warriors who had been buried in the Archaic period, between 580-480 B.C., with copper helmets and iron swords, daggers and spearheads. Ornaments of gold foil — specially made for funerals — covered their mouths, eyes and chests, the statement said.
A total of 915 graves have been excavated over the past eight years at the site of Arhontiko, about 530 kilometers (330 miles) northwest of Athens. Archaeologists estimate this represents just five percent of the cemetery.
"The settlement (to which the cemetery belonged) flourished in wealth and population mainly during the Archaic period," the ministry statement said. "The funerary use of (the gold ornaments) and the other grave goods points to a strong belief in life after death, and rebirth."
Artifacts from previous digs include gold masks, crowns and diadems, as well as quantities of local and imported pottery.
Arhontiko was first settled around 6000 B.C. and abandoned in the 14th century A.D.