Before we get started, a little note. I'm sorry I'm sharing so much archaeological news instead of other things related to Hellenismos or ancient Hellas. I've been absolutely swamped and these posts come easiest. I'm getting a bit more breathing room in my days, so hopefully, I can go back to posting all types of posts soon!


Greece’s culture ministry said Tuesday that archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of a lost city that the ancient Hellenes believed was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy. A ministry statement said excavations from September to early October in the southern Greek region of the Peleponnese turned up “proof of the existence of the ancient city” of Tenea, until now known mostly from ancient texts.

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times.
A pottery jar containing the remains of two human fetuses was also found amid the foundations of one building. That was unusual, as the ancient Greeks typically buried their dead in organized cemeteries outside the city walls.

Lead archaeologist Elena Korka, who has been excavating in the area since 2013, told The Associated Press that her team had only been digging in the rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea until this year. In one, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century B.C. marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Hiliomodi about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Athens. Archaeologists discovered nine burials there this year, finding gold, copper and bone jewellery, pottery and coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to Roman times.

The citizens seem to have been remarkably affluent. The city probably did well out of trade, standing on a key route between the major cities of Corinth and Argos in the northeastern Peloponnese.
So far, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily. Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which will continue over coming years.

"(The city) had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west ... and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies."

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighboring Corinth in 146 B.C., and flourished under Roman rule. It appears to have suffered damage during a Gothic invasion in the late 4th century A.D. and may have been abandoned around the time of Slavic incursions two centuries later.
The Antikythera wreck is a shipwreck from the 2nd quarter of the 1st century BC. It was discovered by sponge divers off Point Glyphadia on the Hellenic island of Antikythera in 1900. The wreck manifested numerous statues, coins and other artefacts dating back to the 4th century BC, as well as the severely corroded remnants of a device that is called the world's oldest known analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism.


The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analog computer designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. The computer's construction has been attributed to the Hellenes and was originally dated to the early 1st century BC. Technological artefacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks began to be built in Western Europe.

The mechanism was housed in a wooden box and is made up of bronze gears (that we know of). The mechanism's remains were found as eighty-two separate fragments of which only seven contain any gears or significant inscriptions. Today, the fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Since 2012, divers have been returning to Antikythera to scour the steep underwater cliff-face for more treasures. The wreck was severely damaged by explorer Jean-Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s when he hauled a multitude of marble and bronze statues from the seabed. What remains has been scattered about, or tumbled further into the deep.

Now, a new article in the Israeli publication Haaretz has sent a quiver of anticipation around the world. It declared it to be a lost cog from the Anikythera mechanism itself. And, as it carried the sign of a bull — Taurus — it proves the machine was more complex than many dared dream. The bronze disc, however, seemed promising. It had four protrusions, large ‘cog’-like teeth spaced at regular intervals. It’s since been X-rayed and scanned. The new disk, if it belonged to the device could confirm its ability to predict the position of the groups of stars so important to the priests and seers of the era.

But the bull-engraved plate is very unlikely to be part of the device’s complex workings. If the four protrusions were cogs, they’re unusually crude for such a intricate device. Most likely, they were practical attachments for whatever the disc adorned. At best, the bull-disc could have been an ornamental piece attached to the Antikythera Mechanism’s case. But it’s just as likely to have decorated some long-decayed panel of wood, or even priestly robes. Meanwhile, the hunt for more pieces of the mechanism continues.
Researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences Archaeological Institute discovered a previously unknown ancient Hellenic settlement in eastern Crimea, a TASS report says.


Chairman of the State Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Crimea Sergey Yefimov, told the Russian news agency

 “Researchers from the RAS Institute of Archeology uncovered a new ancient Greek settlement during their excavation near Kerch, which, preliminarily, dates back to the 4th to 3rd century BC, a period when the Bosporan Kingdom was flourishing. This is an important finding not just for Crimea but for all of Russia.” 

Yefimov further said that the community, called Manitra, occupied an area of about 5,000 square meters. The outpost consists of an estate-like residential area and a domestic zone, made up of livestock pens and middens. Yefimov also said that a necropolis was found near the settlement, which had not been looted, meaning there might be important findings to be made there in the future.

Crimea is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. It is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson, to which it is connected by the Isthmus of Perekop, and west of the Russian region of Kuban, from which it is separated by the Strait of Kerch though now linked by the Crimean Bridge. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Across the Black Sea to its west is Romania and to its south Turkey.
A whistle can be up to ten times louder than a scream, and when you can whistle a language, well, you can communicate over a very long distance. It can, for example, help you herd sheep over a great distance. In ancient times, whistling was also used as a means to communicate in war time. The art of  whistling a language is still practiced in small mountain villages of Greece, Turkey, and in the Amazon forest, but this art is dying with the older generation.



This whistling language, also known as "sfyria" is one of the rarest and most endangered languages in the world – a mysterious form of long-distance communication in which entire conversations, no matter how complex, can be whistled. For the last two millennia, the only people who have been able to sound and understand sfyria’s secret notes are the shepherds and farmers from this hillside hamlet, each of whom has proudly passed down the tightly guarded tradition to their children.

Today, there are only six people left on the planet who can still ‘speak’ this unspoken language
But in the last few decades, Antia’s population has dwindled from 250 to 37, and as older whistlers lose their teeth, many can no longer sound sfyria’s sharp notes. Today, there is only a handful of people left on the planet who can still ‘speak’ this unspoken language, and the numbers are dwindling. Then, the language will be lost forever.
“There is a season when people have the greatest need
For winds and there is a season for water from the sky,
The pouring offspring of clouds.
But if someone should ever find success through toil,
Then honey-sweet hymns form the foundation
For future tales and offer certain promise for great accomplishments.
The praise for Olympic victors is not limited
By envy. My tongue is ready to shepherd
These words. A man similarly prospers through wise thoughts
thanks to divine assistance.
Know this now, son of Arkhestratos,
Hagêsidamos: thanks to your boxing
I will sing a sweet-songed adornment
For your crown of golden olive,
Without neglecting the race of Western Lokrians.
Join us in the revel there—Muses, I pledge
That you will visit no country who rejects a guest
a people who are ignorant of noble things,
But you will find wise spearmen there.
For not even the fire-red fox nor the roaring lions
Could change the nature of their kind.”

Pindar, Olympian 11: For Hagêsidamos, Winner of Boy’s Boxing, 476 BC

[source]
Ceramic kilns for smelting copper ore dating to the second half of the 6th century BC have been discovered in the ancient Greek city of Apollonia Pontica near the Black Sea town of Sozopol (Sozopolis) in southeast Bulgaria.


The kilns were found close to an ancient copper mine in an area known as Medni Rid (Copper Ridge) by a team of Bulgarian and German archaeologists led by Petar Leshtakov and Krasimir Nikov. Dimitar Nedev, Director of the Sozopol Museum of Archaeology:

"The [kilns] demonstrate the highly developed and specialized organization of copper ore extraction and processing within the very mine. This discovery is of extreme significance for Bulgarian archaeology, and perhaps one of the major archaeological events of 2018"

The digs started as rescue excavations in October 2018 after tree logging trucks compromised the terrain, Nedev reveals.The discovery marks the first time ancient metallurgy furnaces have been found near Bulgaria’s Sozopol but outside the immediate territory of the ancient polis.

Amphorae and other pottery imported from the Greek islands of Chios and Samos recovered at the site indicate that copper ore extraction and processing began shortly after the founding of Apollonia Pontica in the early seventh century BC.

The furnaces were found on the northern slope of  'Copper Ridge', and are two types: the first was used for 'frying', that is, removing the sulfur from the copper ore concentrate; the second type were the melting kilns.

The copper ore in 'Copper Ridge' was extracted in an open-air mine, without shafts or tunnels, with a diametre of about 1.2 kilometres. The researchers believe they have also identified three more groups of kilns in the area, and are hopeful of locating the miners’ camp.
Under the supervision of Director Elena Kountouri major excavation work is underway in Kopaida continuing the promising five-year research plan in the area. The Mycenaean acropolis of Gla in Kopaida lake (now dried), the widest fortified Mycenaean acropolis in Greece, preserved until nowadays, causes awe and admiration.


So far, the significant excavation works in the area will be further enhanced by the new five-year research program supervised by Ms Elena Kountouri, Director of Directorate of Prehistoric and Cultural Antiquities.

Mycenaean Acropolis of Gla is built on a stiff rock in the eastern ridge of the tectonic submergence of Kopaida. The wide area fortified by a strong cyclopic wall during Mycenaean times, enclosing a 200-acre area, that is 10 times those of Tirintha and 7 times those of Mycenae.

After the great findings of past March, the new research program set in the area is promising as new and significant findings will come into light. Although the confusion and misunderstanding caused by someone’s visit in official website of Professor Christofilis Maggidis, where he appears as Director of excavation work in Gla, Dr Elena Kountouri, Director of Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities is the only Supervisor of the excavation works in Gla.

The only officially approved excavations works conducted currently in the area is that of Ms Kountouri under the auspices of Archaeological Society of Athens and there is no other licensed excavation. Professor Christofilis Maggidis is unrelated to the excavation. A few years ago, he had conducted a geophysical research study and not an excavation”. Ms Sophia Spiropoulou, archaeologist and team member of Gla’s research program, said.

The research program is conducted under a financial agreement with Region of Central Greece, that finances a part of the program. The excavation lisence was doled by Archaeological Society of Athens that started the excavation works in Gla under the direction of Professor Iakovidis may years ago, while the organization that undertakes the excavations management and managing the costs is the Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Activities under the direction of Ms Kountouri.

The significance of the research was underlined by Mr Vasilios Petrakos, General Secretary of Archaeological Society of Athens, related to the research’s scientific part, as he told “protothema.gr”.
Systematic excavation research in Northern Kopaida

Last March, under the program Mycenaean Northeastern Kopais-MYNEKO 2016-2017 in Northern Kopaida, a systematic excavation research was conducted in the islets Aghios Ioannis and Pyrgos-Aghia Marina in lake’s northeastern ridge, under Ms Kountouri’s auspices.