Thursday, June 14, 2007

Former Greek Royal Residence Yields Ancient Treasures

More than 200 ancient items and 300 paintings were found inside sealed containers in a royal stable and in the basement of the main residence at Tatoi, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) northwest of the Greek capital, culture ministry officials said during a media tour of the site on Tuesday.

"It's a real treasure hunt, we are in the process of removing these marvellous items from boxes stacked in disorderly heaps," restoration supervisor Nikos Minos told AFP.

A team of 21 archaeologists and restorers started work at the crumbling, 19th-century estate three months ago as part of a bid to catalogue its contents before restoration work starts to find a new role for the site.

The collection includes the bronze helmet of an ancient Greek soldier, ancient glasswork including a perfume vial from Roman times, idols and clay vessels -- among them a 2,700-year-old painted jug bearing the form of a horseman, found intact to the amazement of archaeologists.