Bioarchaeologists identify remains of Cylon’s soldiers

Researchers identified remains of 80 individuals, discovered in a mass grave in Phaleron, South of Athens, Greece, as executed members Cylon’s army which attempted a military take-over of the city in 632 BC.

The mass grave of Cylon's soldiers (by Tornos News)
The mass grave of Cylon’s soldiers (by Tornos News)

Cylon was a nobleman and the first recorded Olympic champion who tried to take over the city of Athens and install himself as its ruler, but during the coup his army was defeated. According to ancient Greek historians Cylon escaped but his followers were executed. The mass grave was uncovered in spring last year in Phaleron, Athene’s ancient port. It contained 80 skeletons which have been identified as young and well-fed men. They were buried in an unmarked grave in three rows, some on their backs while others were tossed face-down on their stomachs.All of the men had their hands tied in iron chains and at least 52 of them had their hands tied above their heads. According to the researchers they died from blows to the head. Pieces of pottery found within the grave indicates that they were buried there around 675-650 BC. All of this coincidence made archaeologists believe that these are the remains of Cylon’s army, but to be sure researchers will conduct further forensic analysis.

One of Cylon's soldiers (by PhysOrg)
One of Cylon’s soldiers (by PhysOrg)

The researchers will proceed with gene, radiographic and isotopic analyses and DNA profiling of 10 out of the 80 skeletons. The mass grave was located at a larger cemetery site, containing burials of over 1500 skeletons, dating to between 8th and 5th century BC. More than 100 of them bore the marks of a violent death. Many of the skeletons found were in unmarked graves, sometimes in sandy holes barely big enough to hold a body. Others were buried in open pits, placed on funeral pyres and in jars, the preferred coffins at the time for infants and small children.

(after Tornos News & PhysOrg)

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