Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ancient Greek Outpost Discovered

Livescience reports on an amazingly well preserved archaelogical site dating back to the Late Bronze Age Mycenaen Greece. The site, Korphos-Kalamianos, lies partly underwater and was probably built, at least initially, as a military outpost. the site was found along the shores of the Western Aegean Sea 60 miles southwest of Athens and 40 miles east from the major Greek state of the time,and the one that gives its name to the culture, Mycenae. The Mycenaen culture is best known as the time period set forth in the Iliad and Odyssey by the Greek poet Homer, who recounted the events surrounding the legendary Trojan War. The culture is thought to have existed from around 1600 BC to 1100 BC.

"The site is unique because the remains of most Mycenaean towns are completely buried by now under a few millennia's worth of dirt and detritus. This one stands above ground, with many walls incredibly intact.

"Usually to excavate Mycenaean buildings you have to dig underground," Pullen told LiveScience. "What we have here is the plan of an entire town preserved for us. We have the fortification wall, we have all these buildings, and we can often see where the doorways would be. We can see how the buildings relate to each other, because we have obvious alleyways and streets."

The site shows a regular grid pattern suggestive of pre-planned construction that leads us to the military outpost theory, as most naturally developed urban sites tend to evolve in a more ad hoc arrangment. The site also appears to have been largely constructed at once, and lacks the farmland necessary to sustain a population of the size indicated by the area covered by the find. Researchers have yet to explore the underwater ruins, which might confirm the theory the site was devleoped to exploit a natural harbor existing at the time.

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