The National Archaeological Museum this week unveiled an exceptional stele – an upright stone slab depicting twin infants – as part of its successful “Unseen Museum” exhibition project, which showcases rarely seen artifacts from its voluminous vaults.

According to an announcement by Greece’s largest and most prestigious museum, the marble fragment undoubtedly formed part of a larger funerary or grave stele. It was discovered in 2008 in a northwest Athens gulley by a trash scavenger, who duly turned it over to the archaeological authorities.

The relief fragment depicts two weaned twin infants in the arms of a female figure.

According to experts, the fragment was probably part of a tombstone erected on the grave of a woman who died in childbirth. As the museum notes, “This is the only surviving funerary relief from Greek antiquity which depicts twin babies in the arms of their mother, indicating their shared fate as orphans.”

“The stele of the twin babies”, as the exhibit is called, will remain on display in the central Athens museum until May 13, 2024.