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Archaeologists find cave used by Euripides 2,500 years ago

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Archaeologists have found the hideaway used by Euripides to write at least one of his timeless plays 2,500 years ago, one expert said Friday.

Yannos Lolos, the archaeologist who excavated the site, said he discovered a clay cup bearing the playwright's name in a limestone cave on an island near Athens a year ago.The fragmented, fifth-century B.C., black-glazed cup bears the first six letters of Euripedes' name in Greek.

Euripides, the iconoclastic poet believed to have written 92 plays, including "The Bacchae," "Medea," "Hippolytus," and "Iphigenia in Aulis," was born in 485 B.C. and died 79 years later. Many of his works remain contemporary.

Lolos thinks at least one of Euripides' plays, "Hippolytus," was inspired by his stay in the cave on Salamis because its describes geography similar to that on the island.

Lolos and a 20-member team spent 50 days excavating the grotto, known as the Peristera cave, last year. The dig was the culmination of an effort that Lolos began in 1994, when his detailed study of the ancient works of Philochoros, Satyros and Aulus Gellius hinted that Euripides' writing den may have been situated in one of three caves in Salamis.

"The conclusion from the investigation and wider study of the area confirm the identification of the cave, with connections to Euripides' own play-writing," Lolos said.