A Roman mosaic, circa AD 300, from Villa Roman del Casale, Piazza Armerina, Sicily.
Although 2006 is being celebrated in fashion circles as the 60th birthday of the bikini (and today as the 70th birthday of Yves Saint Laurent), the bikini was alive and kicking in antiquity.
Now a depiction of the ancient bikini has been found in Bulgaria. From Novinite (I love the way they filed the chariot story under crime - this one is under "lifestyle"):
Ancient Bikini-Clad Statue Unearthed in Bulgaria
30 July 2006, Sunday.
Bulgarian archeologists have stumbled upon an ancient female cult figurine, visibly dressed in a bikini, Darik News reported.
The sculpture dates back to the Vth century B.C. and was unearthed during digs close to the Hotnitsa village near central Veliko Tarnovo.
Veliko Tarnovo University's faculty member Stefan Chohadzhiev, who leads the archeological team, explained that seeing so precise underwear lining on the piece was a surprise.
The figurine was probably carved by prehistoric believers who worshipped the woman as a mother, Chohadzhiev added.
The ancient village where the statue was found was first explored in Hotnitsa fifty years ago, and digs have been ongoing there since then. The site has produced many sensational artefacts including the oldest pieces of golden jewelry in Europe.