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As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has decimated cities and turned millions of people into refugees, Ukrainian defense forces in the city of Odesa have been busy building trenches for a future attack. And they just made a stunning find in the process — a trove of ancient Greek urns buried just under the surface.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, soldiers of the 126th Territorial Defense unearthed these amphorae earlier this month. The unexpected find of elongated bottle-neck jars was accompanied by several ceramic shards. The surprised brigade publicized the discovery in a Facebook post on May 12.

While the discovery of intact jars in impeccable condition was fascinating on its own, their origins revealed an even more staggering history. The amphorae have been dated to the fourth or fifth century B.C.E., about 100 years after the first Greek settlement was constructed in the area that would eventually become Odesa.

Astonishingly, the jars survived millennia of warfare and invasions — only to emerge in the midst of a modern conflict.
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