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Soldier of misfortune.

Soldier of misfortune

The remains of Sardis, a city established in the 7th century B.C. as the capital of Lydia in what is now Turkey, include colossal defensive wall that Persian invaders partially destroyed around 547 B.C. (SN: 11/22/86, p. 328). Within the wall's debris, investigators have now uncovered the skeleton of a man in his early 20s, apparently a soldier, lying near a military helmet made of iron and trimmed with bronze.

Bone development in the arms suggests the man regularly carried a heavy shield and weapons, reports Sardis field director Crawford H. Greenewalt Jr. of the University of California, Berkeley. The skeleton's left forearm -- broken just before death -- is raised in a gesture of self-defense; the right hand still grips a small stone. "This man may have been a stone thrower for the Lydian army," Greenewalt suggests.

The helmet is a prototype of later Roman and medieval helmets, he contends. Hanging from its skullpiece are the remains of two rectangular neck guards made of goat leather.

The sacking of Sardis in the mid-6th century B.C. buried and preserved a legion of ancient Lydian artifacts. "Sardis is an archaeologist's dream," Greenewalt says.
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Title Annotation:discovery of the skeleton of a soldier of ancient Lydia in what is now Turkey
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 13, 1990
Previous Article:Uncovering Rome's 'virgin' territory.
Next Article:To live and die in ancient Turkey.

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