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Author Topic: MAGNA GRAECIA  (Read 8880 times)
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« Reply #120 on: January 03, 2009, 10:10:27 pm »

Using high-resolution laser scanning, researchers measured the sarcophagus precisely and saw previously unknown details of its painted frieze and traces of its once-bright colors. The data from the scans were transferred to a robotic arm that carved the copy of the sarcophagus now in Beijing from a block of resin (a process called rapid prototyping). Artists then manually applied the colored decoration.

Scholars at the Taranto Archaeological Museum also scanned the five-foot-five-inch athlete's bones. "It is clear that this man had sturdy bones designed to support great stresses," says Gaspare Baggieri, an anthropologist at the Ministry of Culture who has studied the bones since 1999.

The new scans showed Baggieri that the athlete had enormous calves and thighs, leading him to believe that the sportsman was a great runner and strong jumper. Baggieri thinks that he also had large trapezius and deltoid muscles, as well as overdeveloped neck and shoulders, suggesting he was almost certainly a javelin or discus thrower and a boxer.

 These events are echoed on the sides of the amphorae found in the tomb, which show a long jumper with halteres (jumping weights), a discus thrower, a chariot race, and two hefty pugilists.

You can see the sarcophagus from the Tomb of the Athlete at the newly renovated archaeological museum in Taranto ( The museum showcases artifacts from the eighth to third centuries B.C., when Taranto was one of the biggest Greek colonies in Italy.

2008 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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