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

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.
The vast majority of World Heritage Sites (WHSs) in the Mediterranean are already at risk of irreparable damage due to manmade climate change, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, analysed 49 locations in Europe and the Middle East and found over 75% of them to be in danger of rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Even more concerningly, that percentage is only projected to rise as time marches on. Unless swift and definitive action is taken to limit our carbon and methane emissions, wonders such as the ancient city of Carthage or the Leaning Tower of Pisa could soon become confined to the depths of the ocean and the annals of history alone.

The research was conducted by a team of scientists from Kiel University in Germany and focused on 49 UNESCO heritage sites in and around the Mediterranean Sea, each of which is located no more than 10m (33ft) above sea level. The country with the most at-risk sites was Italy with 15, while Croatia had seven and both Greece and Tunisia had four.

By using sophisticated computer modelling technology, the team were able to predict what would happen in four different scenarios depending on how our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions vary over the period from the year 2000 to 2100. Unfortunately, even the most optimistic model showed that the majority of sites are already under threat.

37 of 49 WHSs included in the investigation are already at risk from flooding caused by rising sea levels, with that figure projected to reach 40 in the most pessimistic projection. 42 of the 49 are already threatened by coastal erosion, and all but two (Xanthos-Letoon in Turkey and Medina in Tunisia) are expected to be at risk by the turn of the century.

Venice in Italy, nicknamed the Floating City, is believed to be most at risk from flooding due to its world-famous networks of canals. Indeed, Venice became inundated almost 10 years ago after heavy rains and high winds struck it in December 2008, while late last month, more inclement weather led to around 75% of the city becoming submerged. The experts behind the most recent research say that figure could rise to 98% if a once-in-a-century-strength storm were to hit it.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese city of Tyre - once the capital of the ancient civilisation of Phoenicia - is the most at-risk from coastal erosion. With its location on the Mediterranean coast, the heavy sand composition of its soil and the high waves which strike it (regularly reaching up to 0.7m or 2.3ft), Tyre is at grave risk of irreparable damage. Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos, an ancient architectural site dedicated to Hera, is next on the list of vulnerable hotspots.

While modern science is continually developing better and more sophisticated ways to anticipate extreme weather events (the recent dry spells which plagued Europe were predicted over six weeks in advance, for example), more affirmative action is needed to limit the effects of global warming. Otherwise, these stunning marvels of the ancient world - and the tourism revenue they bring with them - could soon be a thing of the past.
On the day of the Hene kai Nea, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.

PAT rituals for Maimakterion:
  • 16 Maimakterion - 24 November 2018 - 20 Maimakteria - festival for Zeus Maimaktes ('Blustering') to be gentle come winter.
  • 20 Maimakterion - 26 November 2018 - Pompaia - festival in honor of Zeus Meilikhios ('Kindly') and Hermes*

Anything else?
Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

Would you like to support me? Buy me a coffee.

Sorry, no time. Have some pretties!

"The Greek Gods represent humanity at its best and worst, from the violent and destructive Ares to the beautiful and seductive Aphrodite, Greek mythology demonstrates the epic power struggle between parents and children in an endless quest to gain control over the world.  Tales pass down from each generation showing them to be some of the most influential deities in human history, that continue to have a significant impact to this day today."
Greek police announced on Saturday that they have arrested a 51-year-old Greek man in possession of a valuable archaeological artifact — the top of an ancient Ionic column.

The arrest took place on Oct. 30, when police raided the suspect’s flat in the Athens area of Monastiraki, below the Acropolis. The recovered part of the Ionic column contains the volute — the spiral-shaped ornament characteristic of the Ionic and later styles — and the abacus — the weight-bearing flat slab at the top of the column — both in excellent condition.

A preliminary examination by an expert said the column could date anywhere from the 5th to the 2nd centuries BC and was likely stolen from the Acropolis or a nearby location.
A significant discovery of statues and other ancient Hellenic artifacts from what seems to be an ancient cemetary of the Archaic period by a farmer in Fthiotida has attracted the interest of archaeologists, as the area of Lokris was one of the most developed of the era.

For the last fifteen days the area has been guarded by the police while archaeologists are excavating the site. According to the information so far, the important finds belong to the Archaic period and the tombs are from the 5th to the 2nd century BC.

"The CyArk 500 Challenge is CyArk's ambitious goal to digitally preserve 500 cultural heritage sites within the next five years. CyArk and its partners are on a mission to save these cultural heritage sites digitally before more are ravaged by war, terrorism, arson, urban sprawl, climate change, earthquakes, floods, and other threats. There isn't enough money or enough time to physically save every site, but we do have the 3D technology to digitally save these sites to make them available for generations to come."

Visitors to New York, London, Athens and other cities often flock to museums to view their collections of priceless Hellenic pottery dating from the BCE period. What visitors don’t see are the many other pottery fragments that lie, broken and forlorn, in the museums’ storerooms. Some of these fragments are the work of unscrupulous art dealers, who deliberately shattered small vases and urns and used the sherds to repair larger, more valuable pieces.

Danielle Smotherman Bennett has ambitions to bring those pottery shards into the light with a digital archive that would eventually contain tens of thousands of 3-D models of sherds from museums around the world. Together with existing digital information on intact Hellenicpottery, such an archive could expand our knowledge of the ancient world, Bennett said.

An expert on Hellenic vase painting, Bennett joined San Diego State University this fall. She is the first to be appointed to the Friends of Classics and Barbara Schuch Endowed Postdoctoral Fellowship in Classics and Digital Humanities.

Bennett’s office in the Arts and Letters Building is decorated with reproductions of Helleic pottery from the seventh to fourth centuries BCE. Most are the work of artisans from Corinth, Greece, where Bennett was field director for excavations directed by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in the 2016 season while finishing up her Ph.D. in Classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College.

One of the less elaborately decorated pieces in her office is Bennett’s own work—an attempt to replicate an olpe jug. Her interest in ancient Hellenic pottery extends to the manufacturing techniques that gave these pieces unusual endurance.

"These objects are beautiful but also functional. We can appreciate them now, centuries later, because they are more durable than baskets of wood and even metal. The plain ones were, to the Greeks, similar to what Tupperware is to us. I like that tangible aspect."

Bennett’s research also charts the changes in Hellenic vase painting over time. Beginning in the  fifth century BCE, she said, there is a dramatic increase in women as subjects. Most are depicted performing daily tasks such as food preparation. The shift could reflect a change in the target market, as many men were absent from Athens while fighting wars.

Currently leading a seminar on how to use technology and digital resources to research the ancient world, Bennett will teach World Mythology with an emphasis on mythological imagery in spring 2019. 

Bennett is also scheduled to present the 49th Annual Gail Burnett Lecture in the Classics at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in room 201 of the Arts and Letters Building. Her lecture will examine three Athenian vase paintings dating between 525-460 BCE that feature the mythological sisters Philomela and Procne best known from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.”
Decades ago, grave robbers pillaged the Mycenaean-era cemetery on the low hill east of the village  in Aidonia in the region of Corinthia, digging tunnels, boring into the beehive graves and sending their loot – seal stones and gold rings – abroad. Indeed, antiquities thieves have appeared in Aidonia during periods when there were no excavations being carried out. A rescue dig was carried out in 2002 after authorities were alerted to the presence of suspected looters, as was the case in 2007 and 2011.  The identities of the looters have never been discovered, but their activities saw the locals branded as antiquities thieves. Now, the locals are working together with archaeologists to counter that view.

The land behind Giorgos Costopoulos's home is strewn with antiquities. He is one of several residents at Aidonia helping a team of archaeologists that has been conducting systematic research for the past two years in the area, bringing new treasures to light. The head of the Aidonia excavation, Dr Dinos Kissas, an assistant professor of classical antiquity at the University of Graz in Austria, tells Kathimerini: 

"The presence of the archaeological service prevents any illegal excavation attempts. Antiquities thieves tend not to go to places that are getting a lot of attention and where the local population is also on alert."

Aidonia was listed as a protected archaeological area in 1995 and when Kissas became Corinthia's ephorate for classical antiquities in 2007, he reached out to the locals with the help of Mayor Kalantzis, holding public discussions and briefings at city hall.

"These presentations allowed the people to understand how important it was to protect the area. The area gets poorer when its wealth is taken abroad."

The aim of his initiative was to build trust with the locals and to convince them that the archaeological service's presence is about protecting and showcasing the finds, not taking them away. The Ministry of Culture in 2016 approved a five-year research program header by Kissas and with Shelton's cooperation to excavate, protect and showcase the archaeological site of Aidonia. The multidisciplinary team includes bio-archaeologists, geo-archaeologists and conservers.

Kalantzis has given up a piece of his land so that it can be excavated. It was there that a beehive tomb – one of the biggest found in the area – from the early Mycenaean period (circa 1650-1400 BC) was fully excavated this summer and found intact, containing bronze knives, seal stones, jewelry and vessels, among other artifacts.

For the full story (and there is much more!) over at Ekathimerini.
Short one today, but it made me happy: As part of a restoration project, a replica of the marble statue of Plouton, the Ouranic incarnation of Hades, and his three-headed dog Kerberos has been placed in its original place in the Gate of Hell in Pamukkale’s ancient city of Hierapolis. The statue is known to have been there in ancient times.

Hierapolis (Ἱεράπολις, "Holy City") was an ancient city located on hot springs in classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and currently comprise an archaeological museum designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The so-called "Gate of Hell" is not a gate as such, it's a grotto near the Ploutonium which was sacred to Plouton and which could be quite deadly, especially for birds.
The Greek Reporter did an interesting write-up about daily life in ancient Athens recently. I didn't want to withhold it from you, in case you had missed it.

Everyday life in Ancient Athens of the Hellenistic era was more exciting than in most ancient cities mainly due to the fact that Greeks had theater, great philosophers, were involved in politics, many were into athletics, and had developed the art of the discourse at the agora.

Men, if they were not training as soldiers, were discussing politics or went to the theater to watch tragedies or comedies for entertainment. They could relate to the plays, that often involved current politics and gods in some form. Men also had full citizen status and could vote, something women were not allowed to do. Regarding theater, women were not allowed to watch plays, much less act in them. The theater was a manly affair and the roles of women were played by men.

Men also played games that did not involve physical activity also, such as marbles, dice, and checkers. The Ancient Greek version of checkers was similar to what the current game of backgammon — however, the Ancient Greek version of Checkers involved a board, stones and dice.
The life of women in Ancient Greece was closely tied to domestic work, spinning, weaving, cooking, and other domestic chores. They were not involved in public life or in politics. They were mostly confined to the house although one public duty for them was to be priestesses at temples.

Ancient Athenians had to eat, too. It was natural that the majority of them made their living and put food on the table from farming. Citizens often had land outside the city which provided their income. The Greek landscape and climate was difficult to farm. In September it was the time to pick the grapes, which were either kept for eating or to make wine. Making wine was done by treading and kept in jars to ferment.

Olives were either picked by hand or knocked out of the tress with wooden sticks. Some were crushed in a press to produce olive oil and some were kept to be eaten. Olive oil was very important to ancient Athenians as it had many uses, such as cooking, lighting, beauty products and for athletic purposes. Uprooting an olive tree was a criminal offence.

Grains were usually harvested around October to ensure they would grow during the wettest season. The farmer would use a plough driven by ox while a second man would follow behind and sow the seeds behind. In Spring the Crops were harvested using sickles. After harvesting the grain, it was then thrashed, using mules and the help of the wind to separate the chaff from the grain, the husks were then removed by pounding the grain with a pestle and mortar.

Ancient Athenians ate bread made of barley or wheat and porridge, accompanied with cheese, vegetables, fish, eggs and fruit. Animas sch as deer, hare, and boars were hunted only as addition to the food staples. Seasoning usually involved coriander and sesame seeds. Honey was probably the only sweetener that existed at the time, and honey’s importance in Ancient Greece is shown as the beehives were kept in terracotta cases.

Athenian boys played games similar to today’s hockey and they were also participating in a lot of athletics and calisthenics. Since they usually played naked, girls were forbidden to watch.
Overall women and girls were not expected to do much physical activity for recreation purposes.

Children in ancient Greece usually occupied their time playing with toys and games. They played with balls, miniature chariots, rattles, yo-yos, rocking horses, and dolls and animals made from clay. Boys were taught at home by their mothers until they were 6 or 7 years old. In Athens the education was left up to the father. Students were taught by private schoolmasters. The boys from wealthy families were taken to school by a trusted slave. The students learned to write on wax-covered tablets with a stylus. Books were very expensive, so they were rare.

The students in Athens learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. They also learned about fractions. Students learned the words of Homer and how to play the lyre. Wealthy children learned to ride horseback. Other sports included wrestling, using a bow and a sling, and swimming. At age 14 boys attended a higher school for four more years. Then, at age 18 boys went to military school from where they graduated at age 20.
The 29th of Pyanepsion is the date for the Khalkeia. It's the only festival to be held on a Deipnon and we will be celebrating it on 7 November, 10 am EDT.

The Khalkiea was the festival of bronze workers, a religious festival devoted to the God Hēphaistos and the Goddess Athena Ergane (Εργανη, Worker). In ancient Hellas, this was the day priestesses of Athena started work on a special peplos to be presented to Her during the Panathenaia. This festival involved a procession of workers with baskets of grain for offerings as well as meat sacrifices. Originally, it seems to have been a festival for Athena solely but over the centuries the focus shifted to Hēphaistos instead.

Elaion is holding a PAT ritual for the Khalkeia on 20 October, EDT. You can find the ritual here and join the community here. Also, make sure to celebrate the day by doing something crafty!

Hellenismos believes in free will of humanity; not even the Gods can end the will of a human being, but they can certainly influence the lives we live and instil in us through our environment a need to serve, a need to find Them, a need to honour Them. They might have been doing that since the reign of the ancient Hellenes, but we have only restored the ancient practices a few decades ago, and before that, I doubt anyone really knew what to do with that wiring and just channelled it into Christianity, or in beautiful poetry like from those who were later remarked on as being 'pagan' because they related so well to the societies of years past.

The concept of free will was a grateful one to the ancient Hellenic philosophers. After all, free will in a religious world poses a problem: if you believe in the Gods, and that the Gods have powers beyond ours--foresight, mostly, and a claim to the end of our lives--how can you make the case for free will? If I believe my fate has been foretold at birth by the Moirae, then how can I claim to have full control over my own actions?

In the early days, a form of compatibilism was found where the idea that causal determinism and logical necessity are compatible with free will. Yes, the Moirae predict our deaths, but we are free to do whatever we want in between, and the way we die is of our choosing as well, it has simply been foretold when/what will happen. Because we are not privy to that information, we are not influenced by it.

As time and philosophy progressed, great thinkers like Anaximander and Heraclitus around the sixth century BC--who collectively came to be known as 'physiologoi' or 'cosmologists'--came up with theories to grapple with the supernatural as it ruled over the natural while leaving free will intact. Their resolution was to assign earthy causes to physical events like floods, taking them out of the realm of the supernatural and into the realm of the natural. Their thinking lead to a dualism: it separated the mind from the body and left both open to be influenced by different forces.

In a quest to give humanity back a sense of responsibility for their own actions, materialist philosophers Democritus and Leucippus posed a new theory: that everything--including humans--existed from atoms from the same source. The way these atoms moved and reacted to each other controlled causal laws. This is an incredibly simple explanation of a mechanism I might devote an entire blog post on soon, so just take it as is: we are all made of the same stuff, and the way all that stuff reacts together causes us to experience certain things.

Interestingly enough, this way of thinking led Leucippus to create two dogmas of determinism that go entirely against the concept of free will: the dogma of physical determinism and the dogma of logical necessity. Especially the latter is interesting. It reads:

"Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity." 
οὐδὲν χρῆμα μάτην γίνεται, ἀλλὰ πάντα ἐκ λόγου τε καὶ ὑπ’ ἀνάγκης

In light of Democritus theory of the atoms and their causal connection, the dogma makes sense: everything has a cause, which means there is a single source where all action originated from. This way of thinking also paved the way for later idea of a single God who put into motion the universe.

It were great thinkers like the Pythagoreans, Socrates,  Plato, and Aristotle who attempted to reconcile an element of human freedom with material determinism and causal law, in order to hold man responsible for his actions. Aristotle, especially, introduced the notion of 'accidents' into Leucippus' thinking, paving the way for an element of chance to be introduced into the theory. He was aware of the human need for repetition and predictability, but also felt that some things just happened, without anyone having a hand in it. It was still a causal connection, but it was an unintended one; an accident. In his Physics and Metaphysics he states the following:

"It is obvious that there are principles and causes which are generable and destructible apart from the actual processes of generation and destruction; for if this is not true, everything will be of necessity: that is, if there must necessarily be some cause, other than accidental, of that which is generated and destroyed. Will this be, or not? Yes, if this happens; otherwise not." (Book VI, 1027a29)

Aristotle's views were the foundation for a slew of new theories that built upon his, the most famous, perhaps, being Epicurus, who thought human agents had the ability to transcend necessity and chance. He argued that as atoms moved through the void, there were occasions when they would 'swerve' from their otherwise determined paths, thus initiating new causal chains. We now know that atoms do now swerve, but they do move unpredictably whenever they are in close contact with other atoms. Only very large objects are not bound by this unpredictable behaviour because their momentum is too great to veer them off course before collision. Epicurus' intuition of a fundamental randomness was thus correct, and paved the way for Lucretius, who saw the randomness as enabling free will.

"If all motion is always one long chain, and new motion arises out of the old in order invariable, and if first-beginnings do not make by swerving a beginning of motion so as to break the decrees of fate, whence comes this free will?"

It was the Stoic school of philosophy that solidified the idea of natural laws controlling all things, including the mind. Their influence persists to this day, in philosophy and religion, even though most of their work on free will has been lost--most likely to the Christian church, who preached a dogma of determinism by way of an omnipotent God.

There is much more to say about the concept of free will--especially in view of philosophy--but perhaps it's interesting to look at the practical side a moment. Mythology dictates that our fate is pre-destined, although we can fail to live up to it. Fate, here, is often a promise of greatness; heroes are told they will be heroes but must work for it, requiring the help of the Gods to rise above their own potential. Others have been granted potential by becoming kings and queens, but squander it by petty human behaviour. Often, these mythological figures end up punished by the Gods. We don't know if this was pre-determined, but the Gods never give us the idea they were aware of the coming failures of these men and women.

Free will is powerful: it gives us the agency we need to aspire to greatness. It gives us a sense of control over our lives. We choose to become servants to the Gods--we are not forced to do so, even though it might be destined we become servants; this makes all the difference in our joy of the execution of the Divine will. If we felt pressured and ordered into it, we would not find the same joy in it as we do now we are free to choice our path--or believe we are free to choose our path. Personally, I believe in accidents, and I think that sometimes, the universe drops the ball on us. Sometimes, things go wrong. We are then put at the mercy of the Gods to fix the ramifications of whatever pothole our lives hit, and this is why we built kharis with Them. My life may have been mapped out in advance, but I need help along the way to get to the destination the Gods have in store for me. This is a large reason why I serve, and while this way of thinking is not for everyone, it's my (free) will to do so--and I do so gladly.
Cyprus Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works announces the completion of the University of Cyprus annual field campaign on the tumulus of Laona at Palaepaphos which took place in June and September and lasted four weeks.  The Laona tumulus is monumental in size (100m. x 60m. x 10m.) and as such remains unique in Cyprus to this day. The man-made mound was identified for the first time in 2012 in the context of the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape project carried out by Professor Maria Iacovou of the Department of History and Archaeology since 2006.

The low hillock of Laona, on which the tumulus was raised, lies at a distance of one kilometer to the east of the sanctuary of Aphrodite from where it is clearly visible. At the beginning of the 5th century BC, the royal dynasty of the city-state of Ancient Paphos implemented an ambitious building programme on the plateau of Hadjiabdoulla, where a royal residence and an extensive economic complex were constructed. At the same time, 70m north of the Hadjiabdoulla citadel, they had a monumental rampart built on Laona. Over 65 m. of the rampart have now been revealed on the east side of the hill. This impressive defensive project of the Cypro-Classical period was buried under 13.700 cubic meters of marl and red soil, which had been transported for the construction of the tumulus. The Laona fortress was, therefore, well preserved under the tumulus; its NE corner survives to a height of six meters, and this makes it one of the most significant monuments of the “Age of the Cypriot Kingdoms”.

The ceramic evidence suggests that the construction of the mound dates to the third century BC. Since 2013, the excavations are concentrated in the SE quarter (FIG.1). About 12m. south of the summit, which rises to 114 above sea level, the UC team found at a depth of over six meters a small square (4mx4m) monument. Although its east wall stands to a height of 3,5m., the building was already half destroyed when the mound was constructed. It has a foundation ledge made of unworked stones and red clay. However, there is no relation between the external and internal building plan of the monument; the only part that would have been visible above ground are the external walls made of worked blocks.

The completion of the investigation has established that this peculiar monument was not made for internal use. It contained no objects and no burial chamber. The stone walls formed a shell around a solid homogeneous filling made of worked marl. The preparation of the marl must have taken place in a long channel cut to the east, which communicates with the center of the foundation ledge.

The mystery of the absence of the west wall was solved when the research team identified on the south section of the mound that had covered the building a man-made cutting terminating where the west wall was meant to be. The cutting was subsequently “mended” with a different type of soil. The west wall was thoroughly destroyed down to its foundation base, which rests on bedrock. There is little doubt that this was the work of ancient tomb robbers. They expected to loot a burial chamber but, apparently, they had relied on the untrustworthy information or assumption.  Maybe this was the main role of the small building: to divert attention away from the position of the burial chamber. Looted or not, the burial chamber or the cenotaph, in the name of which the tumulus of Laona was raised, continuous to evade ditection.

The Department of Antiquities of Cyprus has reburied the foundation ledge on the east side and has installed a protective cover over the monument as a temporary preservation measure against weather conditions. The excavations on Laona will be resumed in the summer of 2019; the goal will be the north and north-west contour of the Cypro-Classical rampart.

More images here.
More underwater news! Underwater exploration this September of the historic wreck of “Mentor”, a brig which belonged to Lord Elgin and sank off Kythira Island in 1802 carrying antiquities of the Acropolis, revealed more information about the brig’s construction, Greece’s Ministry of Culture said on Tuesday, according to ANA.

The excavation was carried out by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and archaeologist Dimitris Kourkoumelis. The Ministry of Culture noted,

"The Mentor, which belonged to Lord Elgin, sank during a storm in the St. Nicholas cove in southeastern Kythira in 1802, while transporting part of the antiquities Lord Elgin’s team had removed from the Parthenon, the Acropolis and other Athens monuments."

The underwater exploration took place from September 7 to 23, the ministry explained, and focused on the area of the stern, to determine how much of it survives. But in the 2 x 2 m trench the team dug it did not find parts of the stern or other significant objects. Most appeared to be items belonging to passengers: glass vials, buttons from clothing, a bronze furniture knob, lead bullets, sections of ropes and other small objects.

Another trench, along the well-preserved keel of the ship, revealed new data on the two-mast ship's construction. Participating archaeologist Marine Jaouen of the Departement des Recherches Archeologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines of the French Culture Ministry, an expert on ships and shipping of this era, helped explain the way the ship was built, apparently in America, the Greek ministry added.

The excavation and research team also included several archaeologists and staff from the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens. Support for the excavation came form Peter Maneas, Stathis Trifyllis and Als, an urban nonprofit company.

For many more images, go here.
An ancient Hellenic trading ship dating back more than 2,400 years has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Black Sea, the world’s oldest known shipwreck, researchers said on Tuesday. The vessel is one of more than 60 shipwrecks identified by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project including Roman ships and a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet.

During the three-year project, researchers used specialist remote deep-water camera systems previously used in offshore oil and gas exploration to map the sea floor.

"A small piece of the vessel has been carbon dated and it is confirmed as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind."

The ship, which is lying on its side with its mast and rudders intact, was dated back to 400 BC — a time when the Black Sea was a trading hub filled with Hellenic colonies. The team said the vessel, previously only seen in an intact state on the side of ancient Greek pottery, was found at a depth of more than 2,000 meters (6,500 feet). The water at that depth is oxygen-free, meaning that organic material can be preserved for thousands of years. Professor Jon Adams from the University of Southampton in southern England, the project’s main investigator, said:

"A ship, surviving intact, from the Classical world, lying in over two kilometers of water, is something I would never have believed possible. This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world,"

Helen Farr, a project team member, said:

"We have bits of shipwreck which are earlier but this one really looks intact. The project as a whole was actually looking at sea level change and the flooding of the Black Sea region… and the shipwrecks are a happy by-product of that."
The Apatouria was a paternity festival. The first day was celebrated with a communal feast within the brotherhood, the second day sacrifice were made to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria, and the third day young boys admitted to their father's brotherhood. We don't have these kinships anymore and we won't be celebrating all days of the festival because of it. What we do want to do is sacrifice to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria in gratitude of the kinship we have found in Hellenismos and Elaion. Will you join us on 25th of October at the usual 10 AM EDT?

The Apaturia (Ἀπατούρια) was an ancient Hellenic festival held annually by all the Ionian towns, except Ephesus and Colophon. In Athens, the Apatouria was the central element in the ritual calendar of the phratries, the kinship organizations crucial for determining Athenian citizenship. The three-day festival occurred in the autumn in the month Pyanepsion and was celebrated at the separate phratry shrines throughout Attica.

On the first day of the festival, called Dorpia or Dorpeia (Δορπεία), banquets were held towards evening at the meeting-place of the phratries or in the private houses of members.

On the second, Anarrhysis (from ἀναρρύειν, 'to draw back the victim's head'), a sacrifice of oxen was offered at the public cost to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria.

On the third day, Kureōtis (κουρεῶτις), children born since the last festival were presented by their fathers or guardians to the assembled phratores, and, after an oath had been taken as to their legitimacy and the sacrifice of a goat or a sheep, their names were inscribed in the register. The name κουρεῶτις is derived either from κοῦρος, 'young man', i.e., the day of the young, or less probably from κείρω, 'to shear', because on this occasion young people cut their hair and offered it to the gods. The children who entered puberty also made offerings of wine to Herakles. On this day also it was the custom for boys still at school to declaim pieces of poetry, and to receive prizes.

Ancient scholarship links the Apatouria to the myth of the ritual combat between the Athenian Melanthos (the 'dark one') and the Boiotian Xanthos (the 'fair one') for the kingship of Attica, which Melanthos won through a trick (apate). Although some modern scholars have therefore seen a connection to the ephebes and to rites of passage involving social inversion, the rituals of the festival have no apparent connection to the narrative of the myth, and most modern scholars now link the Apatouria to the control, maintenance, and affirmation of kinship and of membership in society at every level.

Will you join us for this event? The ritual can be found here, the community page here.