Story By: Victoria Lyndon, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A pottery item that spent 36 years in a box in a museum warehouse has now been identified as an Ancient Greek drinking bowl that ended up across the Alps in Austria around 2,500 years ago.
The artefact is kept at the Celtic Museum in the historic town of Hallein in the western Austrian state of Salzburg and is said to be only the third Ancient Greek ceramic object ever found in Austria.
The artefact is only one centimetre in size and it was brought to the museum in 1983 following an archaeological dig in the village of Durrnberg.
Holger Wendling, head of research in Durrnberg, said the glossy, black object is a piece of a drinking bowl’s handle that originated in Ancient Greece.
Wendling said: “Discovering the unexpected item in a simple cardboard box really inspires me. You do not take part in such a spectacular find every day, certainly not in the museum warehouse!”
The ceramic fragment of the Mediterranean drinking bowl, which was probably exchanged for salt on the northern edge of the Alps, was locked away in a cardboard box in the museum for 36 years after first being discovered.
It is believed the item was brought across the Alps to the foot of a mountain in Durrnberg where salt was being mined at the time.
Experts believe that the salt, known at the time as ‘white gold’, would have been traded with the bowl.
The discovery highlights the importance of trading and mining in Durrnberg during the period.
Salt mining brought wealth to the inhabitants around 500 BC and diverse trading relationships extended far beyond today’s Salzburg region.
During the same period, Durrnberg was also a major settlement for European Celts.
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