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Saturday, October 02, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Scientific dig unearths 2,500-year-old fruit

By The Associated Press

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ATHENS, Greece — A scientific dig has uncovered four pomegranates believed to be 2,500 years old preserved inside a woven basket nestled in a bronze vessel, a Greek archaeologist said yesterday.

The fruit was found at an archaeological dig in the area of ancient Corinth, about 63 miles west of Athens.

"They were preserved because the vessel was closed very well. The oxidization of the bronze functioned protectively, so no microorganisms developed and destroyed them," said Panayiota Kasimi, the archaeologist in charge of the dig.

Archaeologists have been digging in a search for antiquities ahead of the construction of an area railroad line. Such digs are common before major construction projects.

The pomegranates were placed in a special refrigerator for further study, Kasimi said.

Archaeologists would not allow the fruit to be photographed.

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