From The Hindu:
Dig in Athens reveals ancient treasures
Athens: Like many treasures from antiquity, they were chance finds, but a fabulous hoard of more than 50,000 pieces unearthed during excavations in Athens has also provided a window on the ancient civilisation of Greece.
The treasure trove, discovered during excavations to build the New Acropolis Museum in the capital, includes relics ranging from a near-perfectly preserved marble bust of Aristotle, to cooking utensils, children’s games and figurines of little known deities.
“Thanks to the New Acropolis Museum, we were able to conduct the biggest ever dig within the walls of Athens’ ancient city,” archaeologist Stamatia Eleftheratou said.
“The excavation yielded artefacts that told us a lot about people’s habits, the way they worshipped and their day-to-day lives.”
Some of the treasures, such as an ornate statuette of the eastern deity Zeus Heliopolites, are unique — providing evidence of a cult of a god hitherto unknown — and extraordinarily well-preserved.
The £94-million three-storey museum, designed by the Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi to house the 5th century BC Parthenon marbles, is by far the most significant edifice erected so close to the Acropolis.
The decision to build on a site so archaeologically rich was roundly criticised, but the excavations have brought to light a densely built area of ancient Athens inhabited from the golden age of the 5th century BC to the mid-Byzantine period in the 12th century AD.
Some of the finds, such as a Roman copy of an original 4th century BC bust of Aristotle — found amid the debris of an archaeological trench near the museum’s entrance — were announced only recently.
With its aquiline nose, protruding forehead, floppy hair and minute eyes and mouth, the bust is regarded as one of the best likenesses of the Greek philosopher.