Farmer plows up Archaic kouros

Archaeologists have discovered four Archaic era kouros statues in Atalanti, central Greece. The first of the sculptures was discovered by the property owner when he was plowing a field. He unearthed the limestone torso of a nude male youth 2’9″ high and immediately alerted the regional archaeological authority to his find. The kouros was recovered and transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Atalanti.

The Ephorate of Antiquities of Fthiotida and Evritania dispatched an archaeological team to conduct a thorough field excavation of the find site and environs. They have been digging there since mid-October and have found another three life-sized kouroi. In a test trench on the north section of the site, the team found a limestone kouros four feet high. It is intact from head to the thighs and depicts a bearded man with his left leg forward. Next to it was the lower torso of a male 2’8″ long extending from the lower back to the tibia. The plinth that runs along the back surface is intact. The third kouros was found last Friday (November 2nd). It is 3’1″ from throat to thighs and the left leg is extended. A trihedral block found right next to it is likely a fragment of the base of the third statue.

It’s a remarkable haul for such a short excavation of a small portion of a field which has seen such recent agricultural activity, but the Archaic sculptures aren’t the only archaeologically significant remains discovered at the site. In deeper layers than the ones where the kouroi were located, archaeologists unearthed seven graves dating from the 5th century B.C. through the second. The grave goods are reportedly impressive although no details are forthcoming yet. This was not a random group of burials. Their arrangement and location near the modern city Atalanti indicates they were part of an organized cemetery of the ancient Mycenaean city of Opus, founded in the Late Helladic period (1600–1100 B.C.) and well-populated until the Gothic invasions of the 4th century.