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

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 “”.
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.