Archaeologists Find Cemetery of Ancient Athenian Leader

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Archaeologists have stumbled upon one of the finds of the century - an ancient cemetery dating back to the age of Athenian king Pericles.

The cemetery, thought to be the possible resting place of statesmen such as Pericles, Solon and Lycurgus, is mentioned in several ancient texts, but its exact location has long eluded archaeologists.

The team has uncovered parts of the cemetery, known as Demosion Sima, dating to the fifth century B.C., said Yannis Tsedakis, director of antiquities at the Culture Ministry. "For Athens and its history, it is one of the most important finds so far, at least in the post-World War II period," he said. The discovery will help scholars fill in some gaps in their knowledge of ancient Greece. Eight months ago, archaeologists unearthed the Lyceum, or school, where the Greek philosopher Aristotle taught nearly 2,500 years ago. "It is as extraordinary as the Lyceum. Two in one year," Tsedakis said. Pericles, a general and statesman who lived from 495 to 429 B.C., was responsible for bringing democracy to Athens and building monuments such as the Parthenon atop the Acropolis. Under his leadership, Athens reached the pinnacle of its power. The Demosion Sima is referred to in the works of Thucydides, one of the greatest of the ancient writers, and is mentioned in Pericles' famous funeral oration, in which he extolled and encouraged the bravery and integrity of Athenians. …