Excavation, Dating and Content of Two Tombs in Daphne, Odos Olgas 53, Athens

in Greek and Roman Musical Studies
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On 13. and 14. May 1981, in the course of emergency excavations in Odos Olgas 53 in Daphne, Athens, two tombs were excavated, the second of which was heralded as the Tomb of the Musician by the press. The contents were transferred to the National Archaeological Museum and later, after restoration, to the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus. In Tomb I there were found the bones of an adult person in his or her 40s, together with four lekythoi, which can be dated by their shape and the style of the paintings to about 430 B.C. In Tomb II there were found the bones of a young adult in his or her early 20s, together with toys, tools, a writing case with stylus and inkpot, fragments of a papyrus scroll and five leaves of two different wooden note-books (polyptycha), together with the remains of a lyre, a harp and one tube of a pair of auloi with mouthpiece. On the papyrus fragments and the polyptycha scanty remains of writing in the Ionian alphabet can be read. Some mythical names point to poetry; musical notation, alleged by the inventory books to be detectable, could not be seen. The harp is an example of the type called the ‘spindle harp’, which is represented on vase pictures from 430 to 410.

Excavation, Dating and Content of Two Tombs in Daphne, Odos Olgas 53, Athens

in Greek and Roman Musical Studies



CockleW.E. Restoring and conserving papyri BICS 1983 30 147 165

GerakisM. Αρχαίος ποιητής ό νεκρός µέ τόν πάπυρο καί τή λύρα Το Βήµα 1981 May 26 Athens

LiankourasA. Daphne. Odos Olgas 53 Deltion Archaiologikon 1981 36 2 47

MaasM.SnyderJ.M. Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece 1989 New Haven

ModianoM. Greek artist’s grave yields rare papyrus The Times 1981 May 25 London

PaquetteD. L’Instrument de musique dans la céramique de la Grèce antique 1984 Paris

PoehlmannE.WestM. The Oldest Greek Papyrus and Writing Tablets. Fifth-Century Documents from the“Tomb of the Musician” in Attica ZPE 2012 180 1 16

SteinhauerG. The Monuments and the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus 1998 Koropi

TouchaisG. Chronique des fouilles et découvertes archéologiques en Grèce en 1981 BCH 1982 106 529 635

WegnerM. Das Musikleben der Griechen 1949 Berlin 1949

WestM.L. Ancient Greek Music 1992 Oxford


See Modiano 1981.


See Gerakis 1981.


Liankouras 1981; see also Touchais 1982533; Cockle 1983 147.


NatMus BE 29/1981 19 May 1981: report of K. Asimenos to the director of the National Museum.


NatMus BE 29/1981 19/20 May 1981: notice of K. Asimenos.


NatMus BE 29/1981 21 May 1981: report of A. Lempesi to the Director of the National Museum; BE 29/1981 22 June 1981: letter of Nikolaos Yalouris Ministry of Culture to the archaeological authorities.


NatMus BE 29/1981 19 June 1981: letter of P. Lawson to A. Lempesi; 2 May 1981: report of A. Liankouras.


NatMus BE 29/1981 17 June 1981: report of P. Lawson for A. Lempesi.


NatMus BE 29/1981 23 July 1981statement of A. Glinos to the Director of the National Museum; BE 29/1981 27 July report of Dr. Olga Alexandri to the Ministry of Culture.


NatMus BE 29/1981 3 March 1982: report of A. Glinos to the Director of the National Museum Dr. Olga Alexandri.


NatMus BE 29/1981 3 March 1982: notice of the restorer Antonios Glinos.


NatMus BE 29/1981 5 May 1982: notice of Director Dr. Olga Alexandri-Tsachou; 30 June 1982 notice of the Ephoros Dr. Vasilios Petrakos.


NatMus BE 29/1981: 30 January 1996notice of the Ephoros Georg Steinhauer.


NatMus BE 29/1981: 1 February 1996deposition of Niki Prokopiou National Museum and Cornelia Axioti B´ Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.


See Steinhauer 199835-44esp. 42.


C. Terzes letter of 13 December 2010.


See Wegner 1949204 and Tafel 23; Paquette 1984 190 195 figs. H1 H2 201 fig. H13; Maas and Snyder 1989 152–4 161 fig. 11 B 164 figs. 16–17; West 1992 72 and pl. 22.


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