In a session devoted to the ancient mass grave containing some 80 shackled skeletons, found at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) in the coastal Athens suburb of Paleo Faliro, Greece’s Central Archaeological Council on Tuesday agreed on the specifications of an underground “shell” that will permanently protect and display the archaeological discovery, as well as approving a study on protecting the remains from the rise of brackish water.
The ultimate aim is that this sensational and extremely important archaeological find, discovered in 2016 during works to build the SNFCC, should become a visitable site.
The idea is that, once conditions are right, the three groups of graves will be covered by the construction of a simple and plain underground shell that will blend tastefully with the surrounding landscape of the SNFCC Esplanade and provide the right microclimate, in accordance with environmental requirements. The project will be extremely architecturally simple and plain and will seek to instill a sense that visitors are going downward into a resting place for the dead, not entering another “tourist attraction”.
The mass burial of the 80 skeletons, some of which are in chains and bear signs of a violent death, is a rare and extraordinary find that was hailed as one of the 10 most important archaeological discoveries of 2016 by the U.S. periodical “Archaeology”. The skeletons date back to the turbulent 7th century B.C. – a time of revolutions, uprisings and violence between supporters of the aristocracy and those seeking to overthrow them – while they may be connected with the Cylonian affair.