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Naked kouros statue among new finds at Despotiko

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Archaeologists have uncovered a naked kouros statue during excavations of an Ancient Greek sanctuary dedicated to Apollo.

Despotiko is a small, uninhabited Greek island in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea. Excavations in the northwest part of the island have previously found a late Archaic sanctuary in dedication to Apollo, one of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman mythology.

The sanctuary was rebuilt several times during the Classical and Hellenistic periods and contains an altar where in 2015, archaeologists found pottery fragments etched with inscriptions bearing the name of Apollo.

According to a press release by the Greek Ministry of Culture, recent excavations have led to the discovery of a kouros statue, a free-standing sculpture that depicts a nude male youth commonly found in other Apollo sanctuaries.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Education

Kouros in Ancient Greek refers to a “youth, boy, especially of noble rank”. Upon reaching adolescence, a young individual, now resembling a mature Kouros, could gain entry into the initiation celebration of the fraternity, joining the ranks of adult men. Apellaios was the month of these rites, and Apollo (Apellon) was the “megistos kouros” (the greatest Kouros).

Kouros statues had several functions. Some could be a depiction of Apollo himself, while others may have been used as commemorative tombstones or offerings for the gods.

The statue found at Despotiko dates from around 480 BC and was carved from marble originating from the larger island of Paros to the east. Also found during this seasons excavations are 88 fragments of marble kouroi, 40 marble bases, and numerous ceramics from the archaic and classical period such as vases, basins, bottles, lamps, pots, and amphorae.

Greek Ministry of Culture

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Education

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Archaeology

Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica

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Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation

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Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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