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Ancient Greek Homes Doubled as Pubs, Brothels: Discovery News

She was struck by the fact that some houses had yielded hundreds of drinking cups — far too many even for well-off families hosting lavish parties.

“Taverns are indeed so well hidden. We know them to have existed, yet we cannot seemingly find any physical evidence for the buildings themselves,” said Clare Kelly Blazeby, from the University of Leeds, U.K., who presented her research last week at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Philadelphia.

Hints to distinguishing a porneia, or brothel, from an ordinary house include not only the number of drinking cups, but also the presence of multiple entrances, the existence of oikemata or little rooms — working in a brothel is usually coined as “sitting in a little room” in ancient Greek texts — and an abundance of cisterns and wells, since bathing after sex was customary in Greece.

The most likely explanation, according to Blazeby, is that Greek homes doubled as pubs.

“My research shows that a lot of trade was embedded within the domestic walls. It also changes our perception of who was drinking wine, and where they were doing it. Women, slaves and foreigners as well as ordinary Greeks, would all have enjoyed time and wine in a classical tavern,” Blazeby told Discovery News.”The embalming technology was quite sophisticated,” said study co-leader Frank Rohli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project

The first evidence of artificial mummification in ancient Greece lies in a lead coffin at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, according to a Swiss-Greek research team.

“Besides the clothes, remnants of soft tissue as well as the individual’s original hairstyle and eyebrows were exceptionally well preserved,” Christina Papageorgopoulou of the University of Zurich and colleagues wrote in a paper to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science shortly.

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Ancient Greek Homes Doubled as Pubs, Brothels: Discovery News.