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Archaeologists excavate a partially submerged stoa complex in ancient Salamis

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A team of underwater archaeologists conducting research on the eastern shores of ancient Salamis have uncovered a large partially submerged stoa complex that formed part of the agora public space.

Salamis was an ancient Greek city-state located on the east coast of Cyprus at the mouth of the Pedieos river. According to legend, the city was founded by Teucer, who in Greek mythology fought alongside his half-brother, Ajax, during the Trojan War.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Salamis was first occupied during the Late Bronze Age III, emerging to be the principal city of ancient Cyprus due to strong trading links with Phoenicia, Egypt, and Cilicia.

As part of a joint research project between the Institute of Marine Archaeological Research, the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities, and the University of Ioannina, underwater archaeologists have conducted a three-year program to study the eastern shores of the city at the north-western side of the Ambelaki-Knosoura marine area. Previous studies have identified sunken remains of the Classical city, including large sections of the sea wall and submerged ruins of public buildings.

Excavations within the former landside of the sea wall have revealed a large, long and narrow public building identified as a stoa. A stoa is a covered walkway or portico where merchants could sell their goods, artists could display their artwork, and religious gatherings could take place. Stoas usually formed part of the agora, a central public space in ancient Greek city-states.

The stoa measures 32 metres in length and contains at least 6-7 rooms with internal dimensions of 4.7 x 4.7 metres. Various artefacts and objects were uncovered during the excavations, including ceramics from the Classical-Hellenistic period, amphora stoppers, fragments of marble objects, and 22 bronze coins.

Of the marble objects, two are of particular importance and date from the 4th century BC. One is a column with part of an inscription in fragmentary verses, and the other is part of a stele showing a muscular right hand of a large figure. The stele corresponds with a marble stele housed in the Archaeological Museum of Salamis which dates from around 320 BC.

According to the researchers: “The identification of the Stoa is a very important new element for the study of the topography and residential organization of the ancient city. It is open to the west and probably marks the eastern boundary of the Agora area of the Classical-Hellenistic city rather than the port, extending on generally level ground to the west/northwest of the building.”

Ministry of Culture

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

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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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