Sometimes it's slow going in acheological news land, but when it rains it tends to pour. Today I am writing a round-up of archeological discoveries made in the recent past. Today on the schedule are: the restoration work at the ancient theatre of Sparta, the discovery of a Mycenaean settlement in NW Peloponnese, and a study on an erotic epigram on an ostrakon from Rhodes.

Restoration work to begin at ancient theatre of Sparta
The Archaeology News Network heads with the news that the ancient Theater of Sparta--which is now almost completely burried with only Roman and later features still visible--is getting a make-over. The Spartan theatre is unique in that it had a mobile stage, as the theatre used to host several events. The stage was kept in a special 'case' under a hangar built at the west lane. It used to be a prosperous theater, done up in local white marble. It was one of the most important theaters around in Classical times, and thus the Central Archaeological Council has recently given the green light to start restoring the structure, starting with a careful evaluation of the monument. From the article:

"The study focuses mainly on the damage that the stone elements of the theatre have suffered (those made of marble and limestone) from erosion, the loss of material and the fractures caused by the growing of plants, the engravings and graffiti, while relevant damage has also occurred at the masonry of the monument. The road is now open for the correct documentation of the situation, of the theatre parts, and also for the cleaning off of all deposits, such as vegetation and microorganisms, or those brought by human hands such as graffiti."

Mycenaean settlement found in NW Peloponnese
Dr Lena Papazoglou-Manioudaki, Honorary Curator in charge of the Prehistoric Collection National Archaeological Museum, recently discussed the excavation on Mygdalia hill, a hill in Achaea in the Patras region, Hellas' third largest urban area and the regional capital of Western Greece, in northern Peloponnese, 215 km (134 miles) west of Athens. She did this in preparation for a speech she will be giving at the Mycenaean Seminar. In her words:

"The Mycenaean settlement on Mygdalia hill covered an area of 6,500 sq.m at the top of the hill, on three successive terraces. [...] Three areas/rooms of a large rectangular building were unearthed on Τerrace 1. [...] On Terrace 2 was excavated a densely built settlement, situated on different levels, following the slope of the hill. [...] The existence of a defensive/retaining wall, preserved for a length of at least 50 m and apparently protecting the settlement from the more accessible south side, was confirmed on Terrace 3. [...] Terrace 1 houses the public sector, the ruler’s megaron and later on it is the designated place for the erection of an archaic temple, while the main settlement is located on terraces 2 and 3. The cemetery of built cists was located on the west slope of the hill. "

According to the Archaeological News Network, 'the [first] meeting of the Mycenaean Seminar will be at 19:00 on Thursday, 31st October 2013, in the British School at Athens, Upper House (52 Souedias st.) Τhe lecture will be held in Greek. The Organising Committee of the Mycenaean Seminar are Nagia Polychronakou-Sgouritsa, Iphiyenia Tournavitou, Emilia Banou, Harikleia Brekoulaki'.

An erotic epigram on an ostrakon from Rhodes
Our last bit of news comes in the form of a study done on an epigram from the second century BC, found on an ostrrakon--a pottery shard--in Rhodes. Anastasia Dreliosi-Irakleidou and Nikos Litinas (University of Crete) studied the epigram and published their finds in the current issue (10-12) of Eulimene periodical. The ostrakon was found during excavations on a plot in the central cemetery of Rhodes. From the study it has become clear that:

"Two hypotheses can be advanced: (a) The epigram consisted of (at least) four elegiac distichs. The hexameter of the third elegiac couplet and the pentameter of the fourth elegiac couplet have been omitted, either deliberately or by mistake. (b) The epigram consisted of three elegiac distichs and the scribe wrote the pentameter of the last distich before the hexameter.

The content of the epigram(s) is that Glykera, perhaps a Samian hetaira, managed to be freed from her eros by vowing to dedicate a painting of a pannychis that had taken place on some occasion. Now a deity is asked that a thiasos already offered should also function as a lysis from eros for Papylides. However, the kind of the thiasos and the way it is dedicated are not clear. Also, there are some questions concerning the corresponding elements between the two stories of Glykera and Papylides. Since there are missing verses or the verses are reversed, as said above, it is uncertain whether the text constitutes one or two different epigrams."
The identity of the poet is unknown.

Image credit: Theater of Sparta: Greek Reporter via the Archaeology News Network, Mycenaean settlement: Archaiologia Online via the Archaeology News Network, epigram on ostrakon: A. Dreliosi-Irakleidou, N. Litinas via the Archaeology News Network.