I know that you have been waiting unable to sleep since you read about Arsinoe yesterday and you are wondering what the archaeologists found yesterday. Here is what you have been waiting for.
Arsinoe was a younger sister of Cleopatra and they were princesses in the royal family of Egypt. People did not know whether Arsinoe or Cleopatra would be the next queen, so they were both treated very specially. When she was about 10 the people who were advising her opposed Julius Caesar and they lost and she was paraded through Rome as an enemy who had been conquered. She was then put in jail for several years. When she was released she feared for her life. She was afraid of people who opposed her but also afraid of Cleopatra, who she thought might like to get rid of her to have a claim to the throne. In order to hide she went into the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. In the temple she was protected and no one was allowed to harm her.
Unfortunately, this only lasted for a few years when Cleopatra decided she should be killed. No one knows how this was done. What we do know is that there was a monument to her with an octagonal building over it and inside the crypt were found bones of a 16-year old. In her short life she had incredible adventures. This is a picture of the ruins of her monument. It is hard to tell that it was octagonal and so I am going to look for a better picture to add to the blog.
The project that Steve (my husband) is working on involves finding bones of rich and poor people and doing chemical analysis on the bone material. From that analysis he is hoping to find out more about their diets and about their lives. Arsinoe is important in this because she was definitely a very rich person.
Here in Ephesus they have also found many identifiable bones of Gladiators. They were not rich people, but they had a very specific diet and so the chemical analysis of their bones would be interesting also.
One other rich person was Celsus. He was governor of the province and was honored with a huge library. The picture shows the front (façade of the building) and there is a sarcophagus for him built right into the ground. Until yesterday no one knew if there were still bones in the sarcophagus. Several problems had to be surmounted to find out if the bones were there. The door to the small room under the library was locked and no one had the key. After the lock was broken there was another problem. There was a film crew making filming and they would not let us into the monument to get to the sarcophagus. They said it would be another 15 minutes. An hour or so later a small group of us were allowed to go into an area that is closed to the public and to look inside the sarcophagus.
A picture taken with a digital camera held into the crack between the top of the sarcophagus and the box showed that THERE WERE BONES! This boy standing near the hole is the son of one of the archaeologists who work here.
Now they hope to open the sarcophagus and take the bones out for the project. Archaeology can be pretty exciting.