More theories were emerging last night, from the Greek island of Milos, surrounding the arms find, dating from circa 130 BC being described as possibly resolving the most significant archeological enigma in all human history.
Workers excavating the route for a new sewerage system made the discovery three weeks ago but details are only now emerging. In a press conference yesterday morning, Constantinos Brachios, the Greek deputy minister for homeland affairs, revealed that of the forty six arms of various shapes and angles which had so far been recovered, forty five were in "almost perfect" condition, and that there were other items too. The discovery was made exactly 191 years to the very day since the discovery of the statue of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite of Milos, just a few feet from the same spot. When we are reminded that this statue is better known by its Roman name, the Venus de Milo, things take on new significance. The statue has been instantly recognisable the world over as that of the beautiful goddess but, famously, with no arms - that is until now.
Outspoken British archaeologist, Professor Ted Rogers of Cambridge University, leading the recovery project, said from the site, "the problem is that, from having no arms at all, last week, it now looks like she has an embarrassment of the things. "There are at least twenty three pairs in there, plus a left foot and a bit of somthing else we haven't identified yet, plus a plinthy looking slab with what look like sports results scrawled on the back, and we're still digging so there could be more soon. For all we know, there could be hundreds more assorted body parts and marble anatomical scraps. The arms look like they'd all fit the torso too but, the thing is, apart from the foot, they're all different shapes and we simply don't have a clue about which goes with which. I mean, is it both arms held high, like a goalie? One low? Both low? One bent over the shoulder? Scratching her arse? While the other holds an apple, maybe? Who knows, she could be holding a ruddy fag or a ferret for all we know at this stage but it is intriguing. All I know so far is that we have a problem!"
One emerging theory is that the figure in the Louvre is not actually that of Aphrodite at all but is, in fact, an early attempt at a manequin or even a life-sized marble Barbie doll. Interchangable limbs could make it a simple matter to adjust her pose to suit the situation, running, throwing, jumping, showering, clapping etc. However, the curator of Greek artefacts from the Louvre, Jules Desbras de Pierre, was quick to deny any such possibility insisting, instead, that the arms could be related to a whole, as yet undiscovered, women's "marble army" or similar. "Just imagine, a crowd of women all waving their arms about. What we may have here is a crowd scene or a whole team of women athletes hewn from marble, which might explain the sports results on the plinth. Mind you, our Venus looks so self assured that she could well be a referee. I mean, the way she seems to be running, you can easily imagine her with left arm raised, holding a red tablet, while holding a whistle to her lips with her right hand so, I guess the jury's out for now. Mind you, the "Ref de Milo" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
Whatever the final outcome, it is all very embarrassing!"
Meanwhile, the worker who first made the discovery, Wayneos Kentrotas, commented, "Its all good for business innit? My cousin's family has actually owned this land for many generations and struggled to make ends meet so now we will be getting a kebab van and we can sell kleftico and chips to the tourists for years to come so, much good will come from this. We are very happy, innit".
While the speculation grows around her, Aphrodite, if it is still she, remains, disarmingly, demure and tight lipped, whistle or no whistle.