SCIENCE
10/15/2015 03:48 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2015

Rare Treasures Discovered In Ancient Tombs On Cyprus

The lavish graves shed new light on the lifestyles of aristocrats who lived and died thousands of years ago.

A trio of ancient underground tombs has been discovered near Soli, a city on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, and the extravagant jewelry and other artifacts hidden inside have left archaeologists stunned.

Two of the lavish tombs, dating back 2,400 years, contained drinking vessels, figurines, weapons, and a delicate gold wreath, along with jewelry and human remains, Live Science reported. The third tomb was empty, apparently as a result of looting.

(Scroll down to see photos of the stunning ancient artifacts below.)

The tombs were excavated in 2005 and 2006, but the treasures they held were recently examined by researchers.

"All these finds indicate to a high level of wealth and power," Dr. Hazar Kaba, an archaeologist who studied the tombs as part of his doctoral thesis at Ankara University in Turkey, told The Huffington Post in an email. "It is not so common to find many graves with this much... Also it was not just the numbers that surprised us but also the quality, variation, and wide geographic import range of each find."

The artifacts may yield new insights into ancient trade routes, Kaba said, as some of the vessels found in Soli are similar to items typically produced in Athens.

"It coincides with the written sources by showing us that the city was supplying Athens with timber and copper and in return getting luxurious metal vessels from there," Kaba said. "This trade model was also present between Athens, Macedonia, and Thracia."

Who was buried in the tombs? One contained the remains of a man, woman, and young girl. The other held the remains of a woman and girl. Given the luxurious artifacts, Kaba said all were likely members of an aristocratic family.

The artifacts are now on display at the Museum of Archaeology and Nature in Morphou/Güzelyurt, Cyprus.

  • A gold wreath.
    Kadir Kaba
    A gold wreath.
  • A figurine of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and her son Eros.
    Kadir Kaba
    A figurine of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and her son Eros.
  • Metal vessels made of bronze, silver, and gold-silver.
    Kadir Kaba
    Metal vessels made of bronze, silver, and gold-silver.
  • The remains of a metal vessel.
    Kadir Kaba
    The remains of a metal vessel.
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