Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


10 December 2019

The unlikely tail of Indian monkeys drawn on 3,500-year-old Santorini fresco that ‘reveal the Silk Road was trading with Europe 1,500 years earlier than thought’

T. Stickings, Daily Mail, 10.12.2019

A scientist has discovered a secret in a 3,500-year-old fresco of frolicking monkeys in Greece: that the animals in the drawing came from 3,000 miles away in what is now Pakistan. Marie Nicole Pareja says the monkeys’ tails are pointing upwards, meaning they were native to the Indus Valley rather than nearby North Africa or the Middle East. Therefore, she argues, trade between east and west along the Silk Road must have been happening 1,500 years earlier than was thought. Speaking to The Times, the University of Pennsylvania researcher said her discovery showed how the ancient world was ‘interconnected’.

‘This is showing us that what people later consider the Silk Roads are working even then, at least indirectly,’ she told the newspaper. ‘We talk about the Minoans, about the Egyptians, about the Indus peoples, all as if they are separate. But they are interconnected.’ Dr Pareja said she had spoken to biologists to establish that the monkeys in the Santorini fresco were in fact langurs native to the Indian subcontinent. Experts told her that the upward-pointing tail was the giveaway which showed the animals originated a long way from Santorini.

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