>> Archaeologists have uncovered one of the largest ancient cemeteries in Athens, and what they found has amazed them. A mass grave in three rows of at least 80 skeletons in chains was unearthed. Archaeologists say they were victims of a mass execution. I'm Reuters reporter Deborah Kyvrikosaios in Athens.
Archaeologists and anthropologists say it will take time to unravel the mysteries of this cemetery. This massive cemetery where all these people were buried together. They were shackled at the wrist with irons. The cemetery dates from the 8th to the 5th century BC. Head of excavations, Dr. Stella Chryssoulaki says due to the period, it is believed their deaths were politically motivated.
>> It's a period of great unrest for Athenian society. A period where aristocrats, nobles are battling with each other for power.>> One of the strongest theories is that they were the political supporters of Cylon, a prominent Athenian nobleman and Olympic champion who is 632 BC staged a coup attempt to take over power in the city.
His attempt failed and although Cylon escaped, his supporters were killed. The cemetery is within the grounds of a construction site where a new national opera and library are being built by a private foundation. Dr. Stella Chryssoulaki says she would like to see a museum built on the dig site to mark what could be the remnants of a major historical event.