Uncovering the Past: A sanctuary of Artemis found, a Stonehenge counter-theory emerges , and more

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Sanctuary to Artemis identified

AMARYNTHOS, Greece – The Greek Ministry of Culture announced that they have found the ruins of a sanctuary to Artemis. A tablet, found in a Mycenean Palace in Thebes, first referenced this sanctuary. While people knew that this sanctuary existed, this discovery links it with Artemis and confirms that reference.

The Mycenaean Age lasted from 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E. Historians consider the Mycenaeans to be the first Greek culture. This Bronze Age Culture had close ties to Crete. The culture, events, and people of the Mycenaean Age formed the basis for ”The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.”

Archaeologists found the words “.. of Artemis in Amarynthos”, inscribed on a building fragment. They made this find 2 km (1.24 miles) east of the modern town of Amarynthos.

A previous excavation had found two porticos or more specifically stoas. A stoa has a wall at its back and a sheltered colonnade in front. Those stoas defined the east and north limits of the sanctuary. The recent excavation found part of the south stoa. Archaeologists now know three of its borders. While the sanctuary dates back to Mycenaean times, people built these stoas in the Hellenistic period, from 323 B.C.E. to 31 B.C.E. This indicates active use of this sanctuary for over 1000 years.

The Greek ministry of culture called this sanctuary “one of the most important sanctuaries of ancient Euboea (Evia).” People have occupied this site from 3000 B.C.E. to 99 C.E.


Columns on the Hellenistic stoa of the Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes, Greece; Credit Bernard Gagnon [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Mycenaean tombs found

NEMEA, Greece. The Greek Ministry of Culture announced that they recently had found two chamber tombs dating the Late Mycenaean Period from 1400 to 1200 B.C.E. They found these tombs near the town of Nemea in the northeastern Peloponnesian peninsula. This site has many other tombs. Unfortunately, tomb robbers had found most of them before archaeologists. These two chamber tombs, however, have escaped the looters.

The first tomb contains two major burials and has an intact roof. Besides those two burials, the tomb contained the bones of another 14 people. The second tomb contained three burials. Its roof had collapsed.

Mycenaeans had cut these tombs into the rock. Each tomb has three sections: 1) an entrance, 2) a passageway or dromos, and 3) an underground burial chamber. Archaeologists have had to rush to excavate these tombs before the looters get to them.

These tombs contained clay pots, figurines, and buttons among other items. They differed from tombs from an earlier Mycenean period from 1600 to 1400 B.C.E. Those earlier tombs contained more items such as weapons and prestigious objects. The reason for the change in the amount and status of the grave goods remains unknown.

Mycenaean Greece 1400-1200 BC; Credit, Alexikoua, Panthera tigris, TL User: Reedside CC BY-SA 3.0

Mummies of Egyptian workers

SAQQARA, Egypt – Archaeology Magazine reported that archaeologists have found 36 mummies in Saqqara, where ancient Memphis buried it’s dead.

Their skeletal remains showed that in life these people had performed hard physical labor. Most of what we know about the ancient Pagan world concerns elites. They had more “stuff” than those at the bottom of the social scale had. Elite “stuff” lasted longer, too. The burials of these laborers lacked inscriptions, personal names, or, in many cases, even coffins. One mummy had a quasi-hieroglyphic inscription that made no sense. Like people buying “knockoffs” today, workers in Egypt had to settle for “knockoff” mummification and burial rites.

A Stonehenge counter-theory

WILTSHIRE, England – Researchers have challenged the theory that Neolithic people brought their pigs with them to Stonehenge as food for communal feasting. The Wild Hunt has previously reported on that theory.

The researchers of the current theory base their counter-argument on the shape of the vessels that held the pig residue. Those vessels had the shape of buckets, rather than that of cooking pots or serving plates. The animal bones found at Stonehenge show signs of spit-roasting. Those bones show no evidence of butchering to fit into cooking pots.

In this counter-theory, people used the pig fat from these buckets to grease the sleds that transported the giant stones from their source in a quarry to their end-point at Stonehenge.

This promises to be a lively academic debate that should fuel a good deal of research.

Climate change threatens Welsh site

DINAS DINLLE, Wales. The BBC has reported that a Welsh fort and roundhouse are falling into the Irish Sea as a result of climate change. This endangers the entire site. The European Union-funded CHERISH project is monitoring eleven other sites in Britain and Ireland at risk from climate change. CHERISH “is a truly cross-disciplinary project. It aims to raise awareness and understanding of the past, present and near-future impacts of climate change, storminess and extreme weather events on the rich cultural heritage of the Irish and Welsh regional seas and coast. We will be employing innovative techniques to study some of the most iconic coastal locations in Ireland and Wales”. How Brexit might impact the project is unknown.

As for the fort, it dates to about 400 B.C.E. The rescue effort has found a roundhouse about 43 feet (13.1 m) in diameter. Its walls had a thickness of 8 feet (2.4 m). The rescue effort found the fort under 3 feet (0.91 m) of sand. The sea has already claimed about 30% of the roundhouse.

Coastal sand had buried the fort during a sandstorm in 1330 C.E. The presence of Roman coins in the fort indicates occupation in Roman times. Roman soldiers did not necessarily occupy the fort. Britons with Roman coins could have occupied the fort.

Climate change not only threatens our world today but our knowledge of our Pagan past.