Musician-with-lyre Burial from Metaponto?

There are brief notices in assorted Italian press sources of a meeting about something of interest … the incipit of a piece at LiveSiciliaPalermo:

La scoperta di uno scheletro di un musicista di 2.500 anni fa, sepolto con la sua lyra a Metaponto, una colonia della Magna Grecia. È questo ciò di cui si discuterà nel corso del congresso internazionale che si terrà da martedì 14 a giovedì 16 maggio al Polo didattico dell’università di Agrigento. Organizzatrice dell’appuntamento è la docente di Archeologia musicale, Angela Bellia.

“Il progetto – spiega la professoressa Bellia – si è svolto in un campo di studi innovativo che coniuga la documentazione storica a interesse musicologico con la ricerca archeologica. Negli anni 80 dei ricercatori texani avevano già scoperto questa tomba. Lo scheletro ritrovato è di un individuo adulto di età compresa tra i 40 e i 60 anni, alto 180 cm, una statura molto più alta rispetto agli altri individui la cui statura era compresa tra i 160 cm per gli uomini e i 150 cm per le donne. L’uomo, affetto da acromegalia, aveva cranio mani e piedi più grandi rispetto al resto del corpo. Questo studio quindi vuole stabilire le ragioni della morte e se era di origine greca o indigena”. […]

… a similar, but shorter, sort of item is in Giornale di Sicilia, if you want to compare (Palermo, uno studio sui resti di un musicista morto 2.500 anni fa) …

The quickie version is that they’ve found the burial of a rather tall musician, along with his lyra, at Metaponto … I *don’t* think this is a new discovery but I can’t figure out whether this meeting/conference is a formal announcement of same or a culmination of the research into same. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in these pages or in my Explorator newsletter, but an article in Lucia Lepore, Paola Turi (eds.),Caulonia tra Crotone e Locri: atti del convegno internazionale …, Volume 1 by Diego Elia seems to mention this find (the book came out in 2007). Is this a well-known find?

Justinian’s Plague Redux ~ Yersina Pestis Confirmed

Back in December, we reported on an article in PLoS about a genome-based study suggesting Justinian’s plague was very likely caused by Yersina pestis (Also Seen: Justinian’s Plague ~ Yersina Pestis?) … the latest PLoS now has a study confirming it:

Keep with out previous post’s style, here’s the abstract:

Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of the disease plague, has been implicated in three historical pandemics. These include the third pandemic of the 19th and 20th centuries, during which plague was spread around the world, and the second pandemic of the 14th–17th centuries, which included the infamous epidemic known as the Black Death. Previous studies have confirmed that Y. pestis caused these two more recent pandemics. However, a highly spirited debate still continues as to whether Y. pestis caused the so-called Justinianic Plague of the 6th–8th centuries AD. By analyzing ancient DNA in two independent ancient DNA laboratories, we confirmed unambiguously the presence of Y. pestis DNA in human skeletal remains from an Early Medieval cemetery. In addition, we narrowed the phylogenetic position of the responsible strain down to major branch 0 on the Y. pestis phylogeny, specifically between nodes N03 and N05. Our findings confirm that Y. pestis was responsible for the Justinianic Plague, which should end the controversy regarding the etiology of this pandemic. The first genotype of a Y. pestis strain that caused the Late Antique plague provides important information about the history of the plague bacillus and suggests that the first pandemic also originated in Asia, similar to the other two plague pandemics.

This Day in Ancient History:

  • ante diem v idus maias
  • Lemuria continues (day 2) — a private and public appeasement of the dead; the Roman paterfamilias would rise at midnight to conduct a ritual involving beans and bronze
  • rites in honour of Mania — a Roman divinity who was considered the goddess of the dead; she was also the mother of the Lares
  • 14 A.D. — Augustus‘ last official census comes to an end
  • 303 A.D. — martyrdom of Anthimus
  • 330 A.D. — Constantine renames Byzantium and makes it his capital
  • 1988 A.D. — death of E.T. Salmon (Samnium and the Samnites)