I work part-time for a construction company, as a communications liaison for the citizens and companies located in the construction zone. I am currently involved in a project located on the remains of a Roman settlement, meaning that every time anyone on-site pushes a spade into the ground, there is a person from the archaeology department looking at whatever emerges. From meetings with said archaeology department, I know that a good archaeologist can unearth, photograph, preserve, and remove two skeletons a day. An amateur or junior archaeologist takes about a day to a day and a half to remove just one. I was reminded of this when the Archaeology News Network reported that a Byzantine grave was unearthed in Thessaloniki during the excavation works for the creation of underground waste containers along Agia Sofia Street in the centre of the city.

Byzantine grave unearthed in Thessaloniki
Credit: ANA-MPA
The grave was discovered after the workers dug a hole that was only a meter deep. Deputy mayor Thanassis Pappas stated that the construction crew found traces of a Byzantine wall, a Byzantine grave and a small vessel, which probably dates back to the 14th century AD. A second grave with human remains was also found, but it was partially destroyed by underground utility networks. Now, I am not sure how things are arranged in Greece, but if the construction crew I work with stumbled upon two graves (no matter the condition), an ancient wall, and old pottery, I swear my site supervisor would weep. That right there is a month of delays.

The deputy mayor underlined that the works for the installation of underground waste containers are being carried out in the presence of archaeologists, so I am sure there will be delays for them as well. Personally, I am excited about the chance to discover more about the past. The Byzantine Empire was not exactly Hellenic--it was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages--you never know what else there is to find.