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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 11:34 GMT
Greek sculpture 'from throne of Midas'
'Midas' sculpture
The sculpture was found on a rubbish heap in Delphi
A sculpture found in Greece in 1939 may have been part of King Midas' lost throne, an archaeologist has said.

The 23cm-tall ivory sculpture, known to scholars as The Lion Tamer, has puzzled historians of classical Greece since its discovery.

But Keith DeVries, of the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, said there are signs that it once adorned Midas' royal throne.


The combination of clues is compelling

Keith DeVries
Midas, king of the Phrygians, lived between 725 and 675 BC in central Turkey and inspired the myth that he could turn anything he touched into gold.

Mr DeVries has spent years studying the site where Midas lived in the Phrygian capital of Gordion.

Markings

He also believes his theory is supported by the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, who claimed to have seen the throne three centuries after Midas' death.

Mr DeVries said the sculpture appears to be Phrygian and to have been produced around the time that Midas was alive.

It also bears markings on its back indicating that it was once attached to something else.

According to Mr DeVries, Midas donated his throne as a gift to Delphi, where it was stored in the Corinthian treasury.

'Compelling'

The piece was found in a rubbish heap near the Corinthian Treasury in Delphi - the same place where Herodotus claimed to have seen the Midas throne in the fifth century.

Mr DeVries said: "We can't say for certain that it was part of Midas' throne, but the combination of clues is compelling.

"It all adds up to a strong case."

He will be presenting his findings to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Philadelphia on Saturday.

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