Ukrainian soldiers uncovered ancient amphorae while digging trenches near Odesa. (all images via 126th Brigade of Territorial Defence of of Odessa)

Ukrainian soldiers building fortifications and trenches near the port city of Odesa have unearthed a pair of intact ancient Greek amphorae created more than 2,000 years ago as well as several ceramic shards. The 126th Brigade of Territorial Defense of Odesa posted the discoveries on its Facebook page last week.

The amphorae, used to transport liquid, are estimated to date from 400 to 300 BCE, when ancient Greek settlements existed along the northern shores of the Black Sea near present-day Odesa.

Ukrainian soldiers with the amphorae they found.

The soldiers handed the artifacts over to the Odessa Archeological Museum, where they will be preserved.

Across Ukraine, dozens of cultural heritage sites have been damaged or completely destroyed by Russian forces. As of May 16, UNESCO reported verified damage to 133 sites since the invasion began in February, including 12 museums, 26 historic buildings, and 15 monuments.

Soldiers transported the amphorae to the Odessa Archeological Museum.

Civilians casualties of the war continue to climb. Last week, a missile strike on a mall in Odesa killed one person and injured five. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and international foreign ministers have warned of worsening global food shortages should Russia continue to blockade ports like Odesa, which last year exported a tenth of the world’s wheat.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.