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Archaeologists Explore Incredible Ancient City in Supposed Backwater Region of Greece

Archaeologists Explore Incredible Ancient City in Supposed Backwater Region of Greece


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A collaboration between Greek, Swedish, and British researchers has resulted in some interesting discoveries at a previously unexplored 2,500-year-old city in Thessaly, Greece. Their findings are beginning to change the way archaeologists look at the region – an area which was previously believed to be “backwater during Antiquity.”

The Vlochos Archaeological Project ( VLAP), which explored the site, reports that the group of researchers consists of scientists from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa (Greece), the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the University of Bournemouth (UK). They have just completed their first season exploring the ruins at a village called Vlochos in Thessaly, about a five-hour drive north of Athens.

The Cultural Past of Ancient Thessaly

Thessaly was one of the traditional regions of Ancient Greece. During the Mycenaean period, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, a term that continued to be used for one of the basic tribes of Greece, the Aeolians.

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At its greatest extent, ancient Thessaly was a wide area stretching from Mount Olympus (home of the Greek Gods) to the north to the Spercheios Valley to the south. It was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000 BC-2500 BC. Mycenaean settlements have also been found in Thessaly – for example, tablets bearing Mycenaean Greek inscriptions, written in Linear B, were found at the Kastron of Palaia Hill, in Volos.

In Greek mythology, Thessaly was the homeland of the heroes Achilles, Jason, and of course, the legendary tribe of Myrmidons. Homer's Iliad said that the Myrmidons were led by Achilles during the Trojan War. According to Greek myths, they were created by Zeus from a colony of ants and therefore took their name from the Greek word for ant, myrmex.

Thetis giving her son Achilles weapons forged by Hephaestus. Detail on an Attic black-figure hydria from 575–550 BC.

An Untapped Find

The head of the team, Robin Rönnlund, told The Local that some of the remains in the area were known but had been dismissed before as part of an irrelevant little settlement on a hill. It wasn’t until Rönnlund and his colleagues began searching the location that it turned out to be way bigger in size and archaeological significance than they could have dreamed.

Aerial view showing the outline of fortress walls, towers, and city gates. ( University of Gothenburg )

As Rönnlund explained to The Local ,

“It feels great. I think it is [an] incredibly big [deal], because it's something thought to be a small village that turns out to be a city, with a structured network of streets and a square. A colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realized the great potential right away. The fact that nobody has ever explored the hill before is a mystery."

Archaeologist Johan Klange measuring the Classical-Hellenistic fortifications on the hill of Strongilovoúni. ( VLAP)

Finds from 500 BC

The team discovered the ruins of towers, walls, and city gates on the summit and slopes of the hill. Additionally, during their first two weeks of field work in September, they found ancient pottery and coins, dating back to around 500 BC. After that, the city is thought to have prospered from the 4th to 3rd century BC before it was abandoned – possibly when the Romans took over the area.

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Fragment of red-figure pottery discovered at the site. It is from the late 6th century BC and probably by Attic painter Paseas. ( University of Gothenburg )

Rönnlund hopes that his team won’t need to excavate the site. Instead, they would prefer to use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will allow them to leave it in the same condition as they found it.

A second field project is planned for August next year and Rönnlund is optimistic about the future finds and results. He said :

"Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot remains to be discovered in the Greek soil.”

The site with the road leading up towards it. ( Swedish Institute at Athens )


2,500-year-old LOST Greek city FOUND: Archaeologists brimming with excitement at discovery

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A team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg have started to explore the remains which were found near a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens.

Some of the ruins were already known but had been dismissed as part of an irrelevant settlement on a hill.

Now archaeologists say the city holds great historical significance.

The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to several historical periods.

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What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought

Robin Rönnlund

Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork, said: &ldquoWhat used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one season.

&ldquoA colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realised the great potential right away.

&ldquoThe fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery.&rdquo

Archaeologists have found the remains of an ancient city dating back 2,500 years in Greece

Fortress walls, towers and city gates are clearly visible from the air

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute at Athens and the local archaeological service in Karditsa, the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) was started with an aim to explore the remains.

Mr Rönnlund says the hill is hiding many secrets. Remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below.

Instead of excavating the site, the team hope to use ground-penetrating radar in order to preserve the hill.

Fragment of red-figure pottery from the late 6th century BC, probably by Attic painter Paseas

The team&rsquos initial fieldwork has already found artefacts from 500BC

The team&rsquos initial fieldwork has already found artefacts from 500BC.

Mr Rönnlund said: &ldquoWe found a town square and a street grid that indicate that we are dealing with quite a large city. The area inside the city wall measures over 40 hectares.

&ldquoWe also found ancient pottery and coins that can help to date the city.

&ldquoOur oldest finds are from around 500 BC, but the city seems to have flourished mainly from the fourth to the third century BC before it was abandoned for some reason, maybe in connection with the Roman conquest of the area.&rdquo

New UNESCO World Heritage sites


Swedish and Greek archaeologists discover unknown ancient city in Greece

An international research team at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, is exploring the remains of an ancient city in central Greece. The results can change the view of an area that traditionally has been considered a backwater of the ancient world.

Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessaliska plains and can be dated to several historical periods.

"What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one digging season", says Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork.

"A colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realised the great potential right away. The fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery."

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute at Athens and the local archaeological office in Karditsa, the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) was started with an aim to explore the remains. The project&rsquos research team completed the first field season during two weeks in September 2016.

Rönnlund says that the hill is hiding many secrets. Tall remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below. One ambition is to avoid excavation and instead use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will enable the team to leave the site in the same shape as it was in when they arrived. The success of this approach is evident from the results of the first field season:

"We found a town square and a street network that indicate that we are dealing with a quite large city. The area inside the city wall measures over 40 hectares. We also found ancient potsherds and coins that can be used to date the city. Our oldest finds are from around 500 BC, but the city seems to have flourished mainly from the fourth to the third century BC before it was abandoned for some reason, maybe in connection with the Roman Empire conquering the area."

Rönnlund believes that the Swedish-Greek project can provide important clues as to what happened during this stormy period in Greek history.

"Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot remains to be discovered in the Greek soil."

The Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP)
VLAP is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa and the Swedish Institute at Athens. In 2016&ndash2017, a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Bournemouth University is exploring the remains of a city in Vlochós as part of the project. Read more at vlap.se

Please, feel free to contact:
Robin Rönnlund
Tel: +46 (0)764 19 12 35
Email: [email protected]

1VLAP_Akropolis_bland_molnen: The city&rsquos acropolis is barely visible during a cloudy day on the Thessalian plains.

2VLAP_attisk_rodfigurig: Fragment of red-figure pottery from the late 6th century BC, probably by Attic painter Paseas.

3VLAP_mur_och_Pindos: The steep terrain on the hill has protected the ancient remains from destruction.

4VLAP_Port_och_mur: Fortress walls, towers and city gates are clearly visible from the air.

5VLAP_serpentinvag: A 4-metre wide terraced serpentine road leads to the city&rsquos acropolis some 200 metres above the surrounding plains.

6VLAP_team_1a: The participants in the first archaeological field season in Vlochós.

Cecilia Köljing
Communications officer, Department of Historical Studies
University of Gothenburg
Tel: +46 (0)701-41 21 64
[email protected]

University of Gothenburg is one of the major universities in Europe, with about 37 000 students and a staff of 6 000. Its eight faculties offer training in the Creative Arts, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Education, Information Technology, Business, Economics and Law, and Health Sciences. The University&rsquos unique breadth in education and research provides an interdisciplinary environment conducive to collaboration with private enterprise and public institutions. The quality of the University has earned recognition in the form of numerous awards, including a recent Nobel Prize, and a steady stream of applicants at all levels.


Ancient Greek 'backwater' actually a bustling metropolis, research shows

The discovery of a street grid and various cultural objects could shift the historical narrative of Thessaly.

In Thessaly, the unassuming ruins at Vlochós can be found settled among sprawling plains. Perhaps drawing from the rustic beauty of the Greek countryside, academics long assumed that this region was dotted by simple rural dwellings in the days of antiquity. But when archaeologists finally explored Vlochós, they found something entirely different: evidence of a sophisticated city.

The ruins, which were discovered at least 200 years ago, bear a modest face. The site encompasses about 100 acres of rocky terrain, studded only with the scattered remains of walls, towers, and gates. But when researchers from the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) mapped the site with ground-penetrating radar in September, they found a city – complete with a street grid, town square, various coins, and pottery – buried beneath the surface.

These preliminary results represent a considerable shift in the historical narrative of ancient Thessaly – from “backwater” rags to cultural riches. In doing so, they may also provide some insight into an inclination to underestimate the sophistication of ancient people.

There can be a certain arrogance that comes with modernity. As computers become increasingly powerful and portable, it becomes harder to imagine a world in which we navigated by stars and hand-drawn maps, rather than GPS.

The History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens,” for example, attributes humanity’s most notable historical achievements to benevolent extraterrestrials. This show is compelling, despite its absurdity, because it’s predicated on a common disbelief: that humans simply couldn’t have done it alone.

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“It’s true that we tend to underestimate the incredible mobility of people in the past,” Stephen Scully, a professor of classical studies at Boston University, tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview. “Long before Marco Polo, contacts between the East and West were being made through trade routes. Villages weren’t always so isolated and static. It was a very vast world, much broader than we tend to think.”

“In Homer, you find references to people like the Laestrygonians," he adds. "They live half the year in light, and the other half in darkness, harboring their ships in narrow channels between cliffs. It sounds very much like an exaggerated description of a fjord. Did Homer visit them? No, but these stories are somehow transmitted.”

So too was Vlochós overlooked. Greek authorities were long familiar with the Thessalian ruins, but inaccessible terrain and a lack of literary references to the region deterred serious exploration. When archaeologists from the local Ephorate, the University of Gothenburg, and the University of Bournemouth decided to examine the area, there had been no previous systematic surveys performed on the site.

“Thessaly is rarely mentioned in ancient literary sources, which has lead to the erroneous conclusion by some that it was unimportant or ‘backwards,’” lead researcher Robin Rönnlund, a PhD student in archaeology at the University of Gothenburg, tells the Monitor in an email. “Any scholar studying this wonderful region would tell you the same thing: it was not a backwater, but an important and influential part of the ancient world.”

Though the oldest objects discovered on site were from about 500 BC, the city apparently flourished in the late fourth and third centuries of that era. It was abandoned some time later, perhaps due to the Roman conquest of the area, but a vibrant culture appears to have sprung up around the time of Alexander the Great, who ruled from nearby Macedonia.

“That things in Thessaly would be expanding under Alexander makes some sense,” Scully says. “Alexander spread his influence all over the Mediterranean and all the way to India, but there was always a base in Macedonia.”

The discovery of a city at Vlochós may provide further evidence that the region as a whole, which was once thought to be sparsely populated, was a cultural center despite its relatively remote location.

“The preliminary results strengthens the notion that the region was a rich and prosperous one in antiquity, with proper cities benefiting from the fertile plains surrounding them,” Rönnlund says.

Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

VLAP has chosen not to remove artifacts or physically excavate the site. A few surface finds, such as stray coins, will be housed at the Archaeological Museum of Karditsa. The international team plans to return to Vlochós in 2017 for further research.

“One of the great splendors of archaeology is that the past is continually being discovered,” Scully says. “As new technologies are developed and archaeological discoveries are made, we can reconstruct how we imagine the past.”


Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to several historical periods.

'What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one season,' says Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork.

SEE ALSO: Lord of the Rings: Archaeologists Unveil New Findings From Greek Warrior's Tomb

'A colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realised the great potential right away. The fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery.'

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute at Athens and the local archaeological service in Karditsa, the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) was started with an aim to explore the remains. The project's research team completed the first field season during two weeks in September 2016.

Rönnlund says that the hill is hiding many secrets. Remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below. The ambition is to avoid excavation and instead use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will enable the team to leave the site in the same shape as it was in when they arrived. The success of this approach is evident from the results of the first field season:

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'We found a town square and a street grid that indicate that we are dealing with quite a large city. The area inside the city wall measures over 40 hectares. We also found ancient pottery and coins that can help to date the city. Our oldest finds are from around 500 BC, but the city seems to have flourished mainly from the fourth to the third century BC before it was abandoned for some reason, maybe in connection with the Roman conquest of the area.

Rönnlund believes that the Swedish-Greek project can provide important clues as to what happened during this violent period in Greek history.

'Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot remains to be discovered in the Greek soil.'

This article has been republished from materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


Archaeological Discoveries

Archaeologists began to explore the ancient kingdom of Macedonia in the late 19th century while the region was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Soldiers fighting on the Macedonian Front along the Greek border during World War I uncovered ancient Macedonian artifacts while digging trenches. British and French forces on the Macedonian Front employed archaeologists to work alongside troops in the trenches, occasionally using Bulgarian prisoners of war as workmen for their excavations. They unearthed dozens of prehistoric, Bronze Age burial mounds.

The city of Vergina, in northern Greece, is home to the most important ancient Macedonian archaeological site: the ruins of Aigai. The monumental palace uncovered there is considered one of the biggest, most lavish buildings of ancient Greece with colorful mosaics and elaborate stucco ornamentation.

The site contains more than 500 burial mounds dating from the eleventh to second century B.C.

In 1977, researchers discovered the tombs of four Macedonian kings, including Phillip II, under a burial mound called the Great Tumulus. Scientists matched a massive hole in one of the leg bones uncovered there to a crippling lance wound Phillip had suffered during one of his early military campaigns.


Swedish and Greek archaeologists discover unknown city in Greece

An international research team at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, is exploring the remains of an ancient city in central Greece. The results can change the view of an area that traditionally has been considered a backwater of the ancient world.

Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to several historical periods.

'What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one season,' says Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork.

'A colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realised the great potential right away. The fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery.'

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute at Athens and the local archaeological service in Karditsa, the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) was started with an aim to explore the remains. The project's research team completed the first field season during two weeks in September 2016.

Rönnlund says that the hill is hiding many secrets. Remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below. The ambition is to avoid excavation and instead use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will enable the team to leave the site in the same shape as it was in when they arrived. The success of this approach is evident from the results of the first field season:

'We found a town square and a street grid that indicate that we are dealing with quite a large city. The area inside the city wall measures over 40 hectares. We also found ancient pottery and coins that can help to date the city. Our oldest finds are from around 500 BC, but the city seems to have flourished mainly from the fourth to the third century BC before it was abandoned for some reason, maybe in connection with the Roman conquest of the area.

Rönnlund believes that the Swedish-Greek project can provide important clues as to what happened during this violent period in Greek history.

'Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot remains to be discovered in the Greek soil.'

The Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP):

VLAP is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa and the Swedish Institute at Athens. In 2016-2017, a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg and University of Bournemouth is exploring the remains of a city in Vlochós as part of the project. Read more at vlap.se

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.


HEXAPOLIS

Posted By: Sukanya Mukherjee December 20, 2016

A team of researchers has recently unearthed an ancient city among the hills of Vlochós in Greece. Situated in what was once called the “backwater of the ancient world”, the remains of the now-ruined city were found near the village of Vlochós, some 300 km from the capital city of Athens. The evidence, which dates back to around 500 BC, offers valuable insights in the country’s ancient past.

The research was conducted as part of the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) by archaeologists from the Swedish Institute at Athens, the University of Gothenburg and the Karditsa archaeological service. Their survey uncovered pottery fragments, coins as well as the battered remains of the ancient city’s walls, towers and gates. Instead of invasive techniques like excavation, the team relied on ground-penetrating radar (GPR) for the purpose of examination.

Thanks to this advanced technology, the researchers were able to locate the now-buried street grid and town square. Based on their observations, the archaeologists believe that the entire city stretched over an area of over 40 hectares (approx. 100 acres). Speaking about the amazing discovery, Robin Rönnlund, the team’s field leader and a PhD student at the University of Gothenburg, said:

Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot remains to be discovered in the Greek soil.

According to the team, the region was a thriving city during the fourth and the third centuries BC, following which it was mysteriously abandoned. This turn of events, the researchers believe, could have been the result of the arrival of the Romans. Rönnlund added:

What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought…The fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery.


No Longer A Backwater

These few letters in stone upend traditional historical narratives about the native population of the region the Greeks and Romans called Iberia (not to be confused with the modern-day Iberian Peninsula), which bordered the Georgian coast of the Black Sea.

Archaeologists have long known that literate civilizations were present there as long ago as the fourth millennium B.C.—excavations throughout Georgia have unearthed coins, beads, and pottery from Assyria, Greece, and Persia.

Until now, though, no trace of Iberian literacy from as long ago as the Iron Age, which in the Caucasus lasted from about the late second millennium B.C. to the fifth century B.C., has been found. (The earliest known Georgian and Armenian scripts date from the fifth century A.D., shortly after these cultures converted to Christianity.)

Ancient Iberia, Licheli says, has been seen by Georgian and international archaeologists as a backwater, unworthy of study on its own terms, especially during the middle years of the first millennium B.C., when foreign conquerors (notably the Greeks and Persians) made their mark.


Archaeologists discover shipwrecks, ancient harbor on coast of Israel

Arrchaeologists from the University of Rhode Island, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the University of Louisville have discovered the remains of a fleet of early-19th century ships and ancient harbor structures from the Hellenistic period (third to first century B.C.) at the city of Akko, one of the major ancient ports of the eastern Mediterranean. The findings shed light on a period of history that is little known and point to how and where additional remains may be found.

The discoveries were presented on November 15 and 17 in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research by URI assistant professors Bridget Buxton and William Krieger on behalf of the Israel Coast Exploration project.

According to Buxton, three of the four well-preserved shipwrecks found off the coast south of Akko were first detected using a sub-bottom profiler in 2011. Later, storms stripped off several meters of inshore sediments and temporarily revealed the wrecks, as well as an additional large vessel. The wrecks are now reburied.

During the brief time the shipwrecks were exposed, the Israel Antiquities Authority investigated one of them: a 32 meter vessel which still preserved its brass gudgeon (rudder socket) and many small artifacts, such as plates, a candlestick, and even a cooking pot with bones in it. Laboratory analyses completed this summer by the IAA revealed that the ship's wood came from Turkey. The team believes these ships may have belonged to the Egyptian navy under Admiral Osman Nurredin Bey, whose ships were severely damaged in his attempt to capture Akko in the Egyptian-Ottoman War of 1831. The town eventually fell to Egyptian land forces under Ibrahim Pasha in 1832.

"These ships have occasionally been exposed and buried again by storms since we found them," Buxton said. "We're in a race against time to find other ships in the area and learn from them before storms totally dislodge or destroy them."

Although shipwrecks from the 1800s are not the highest priorities in a region where civilization goes back thousands of years, Buxton is excited by the discovery for what it tells her about where much older ships may be found.

"Like many underwater archaeologists I'm very interested in finding a well-preserved example of an ancient multi-decked warship from the Hellenistic age," said Buxton. "These ships were incredible pieces of technology, but we don't know much about their design because no hulls have been found. However, a combination of unusual environmental and historical factors leads us to believe we have a chance of finding the remains of one of these ships off the northern coast of Israel."

Buxton believes that the ships they are looking for are likely buried in the coastal sediment, which has built up over the centuries through natural processes. However, time is not on their side. "That protective silt is now being stripped away," she said. "And it's being stripped away a lot faster than it was originally dumped, by a combination of development, environmental changes, and the effects of the Aswan Dam." The Nile River has historically deposited large quantities of silt in the area, but the dam has significantly reduced the flow of silt.

The archaeologists found the ships and another early modern vessel within Akko's modern harbor while testing their equipment in preparation for an ongoing survey out in deeper water. The sub-bottom profiler detects anomalies below the sea floor. "It's the gift that keeps on giving," Buxton said. "We found so many targets to explore that we didn't have time to check all of them, but even just having information about where things are helps Koby (Jacob Sharvit, director of the IAA Maritime Antiquities Unit) know where to look after any big storms."

One line of buried targets detected off the southern seawall of old Akko is particularly suggestive. Continuing excavations in this area over the summer revealed an alignment between these targets and a newly-discovered slipway and shipshed structure, which continued out under the sea floor 25 meters from the Ottoman city wall. The feature resembles other naval shipsheds found in places such as Athens where they were used to haul up ancient warships. The excavation project was initially undertaken to strengthen the eroding sea wall, but it also revealed Hellenistic masonry, pottery vessels, an ancient mooring stone, and a stone quay 1.3 meters below the modern sea level. The possibility that much more of the Hellenistic port lies well-preserved under the sea floor is exciting for the archaeologists, because it means that shipwrecks from earlier centuries that have so far not been found at Akko may simply be buried deeper down in the sediment.

"We've got fragmentary historic records for this area in the Hellenistic period, and now we've found a very important feature from the ancient harbor. Ancient shipwrecks are another piece of the puzzle that will help us to rewrite the story of this region at a critical time in Mediterranean history," she said.

Located on the northern coast of Israel, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Akko is one of the few cities in the Mediterranean with more than 5,000 years of maritime history. Also known as Acre, Ake and Ptolemais, its port was an important waypoint for the Phoenicians, Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans and other ancient maritime empires. In the Hellenistic period, it was bitterly fought over by the rival empires of Egypt and Syria.

"Understanding the history and archaeology of Akko's port is crucial to understanding the broader issues of maritime connectivity and the great power struggles that defined the history of the Eastern Mediterranean during the Hellenistic Age," Buxton said.


Helmets from the skulls of kids

Two infants, buried about 2,100 years ago, were found with "helmets" made from the skulls of other children. The two infants with helmets were found buried with the remains of nine other people at the site of Salango, on the coast of central Ecuador.

The helmets were placed tightly over the infants' heads, the archaeologists found. It's likely that the older children's skulls still had flesh on them when they were turned into helmets, because without flesh, the helmets likely would not have held together, the archaeologists noted.

Archaeologists say that this is the only known case in which children's skulls were used as helmets for buried infants. It's not clear what killed the infants or the children. It's also not clear why these helmets were placed on the infants. It "may represent an attempt to ensure the protection of these 'presocial and wild' souls," the archaeologists wrote in a paper published in the journal Latin American Antiquity.


Watch the video: Μοναδικό στην Ελλάδα αρχαιολογικό εύρημα στην Μαυροπηγή Κοζάνης (July 2022).


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