Her name was Neiko (Νεικώ) and she lived and died some time in the 2nd and 3rd century AD, a prominent figure in her community judging by the impressive mausoleum that was built to house her tomb and the rich grave goods that she was buried with. The name, forgotten for centuries, was rediscovered by archaeologists in a previously lost tomb inscription carved into the rock inside the monument.
Archaeologists that unveiled the find made at Episkopi on the island of Sikinos on Sunday, via the Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate, highlighted its many unique features, including its unusually large scale for the island and the unusual conversion of the temple-like mausoleum into a domed Byzantine church.
“It is an impressive palimpsest of antiquity and the medieval era, unique in Greece,” according to a culture ministry announcement on Monday.
Talking about the find to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), the head of Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate Dimitris Athanasoulis also noted that it was a burial that was “off the scale” and very rich for the island, while it had been undisturbed when discovered since it was very well hidden.
“It was impressive that they had hidden her not in the normal crypts that are in the basement of the monument but in the double wall that they had made at a point within the building, between two walls, so that she would not be found,” he said.