Listing the most important archaeological discoveries of the last decade is complicated, no matter which country, region or place in the world you choose. But especially in Greece, due to the abundance and proliferation of finds, from Prehistory to the Middle Ages. Therefore, what better way than to turn to the Greeks themselves to find out what they consider to be the most important discoveries, to which we have added two more that we consider exceptional.
They all changed in some way our conception of Greek history, answering some questions but also opening new and exciting ones.
1. Minoan Tomb of Crete (2018)
A farmer from Kentri Ierapetra discovered a carved tombstone from the Late Minoan III period when he parked his car under an olive tree.
It turned out to be a tomb containing two large representations in relief, two skeletons and 24 ceramic pieces with reliefs and colourful representations.
2. Argilus stoa (2013)
Archaeologists working on the site of the ancient city of Argilus ( an ancient Macedonian coastal city on the shores of the Eastern Gulf) in 2013 found the remains of a stoa or portico, the type of construction where merchants set up their businesses for sale to the public.
But unlike others previously discovered, this time it was composed of different rooms, suggesting that each owner had been building his business by attaching it to the existing ones. It is therefore a rare find.
What’s more, the portico dates back some 2,500 years, making it the oldest in northern Greece.
3. The ancient lost city of Vlochós (2016)
Some 300 kilometres north of Athens in Thessaly, researchers from the Universities of Gothenburg and Bournemouth looked at ruins already known on a mountain slope. Previously they had been discarded as belonging to an irrelevant settlement, but the new research revealed that it was an ancient lost city, dating back some 2,500 years.
It occurred in September 2016 in the vicinity of the town of Vlochós, and since then archaeologists have unearthed the remains of towers and walls, and found abundant pieces of pottery and coins from 500 BC.
4. The pyramid of Keros (2018)
On the Greek island of Keros, home to the world’s oldest island sanctuary, archaeologists discovered that 4,000 years ago its inhabitants excavated a terraced mound, giving it the appearance of a stepped pyramid. The surprise came when they examined the interior and found that it had a sophisticated drainage system.
5. The ancient ship base of Piraeus (2010)
A local fisherman was the key to finding the submerged remains of the ancient Athenian naval base in Piraeus. From there came the ships that faced the Persian Empire in the Battle of Salamina.
6. The palace of Knossos, much larger than believed (2016)
New discoveries at the Cretan site of Knossos suggest, not only that the palatial area was much larger and more influential than previously thought, but that it also survived the volcanic eruption of Thira (Santorini) around 1200 BC.
7. Delos Underwater Findings (2017)
Numerous submerged structures were found around the island of Delos, including an old port. There are also many shipwrecks from different periods.
All this confirms the theory that Delos was an important commercial centre, a crossroads of maritime routes and a link between Mediterranean peoples.
8. The ancient silver mine of Laurium (2009)
In 2009, the ruins of the Laurium silver mines were excavated in Sounion National Park, near the town of Agios Konstadinos. The wealth coming from these and other gold, iron and silver mines contributed to sustain the Athenian Empire between the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. And with the profits obtained from them, the monuments of the Acropolis and the city walls, among others, were paid for.
9. Evia’s ancient inscription (2018)
In August 2018, a fragment of marble was found hidden under stones on a path in Evia. It turned out to contain a profuse Hellenistic inscription that may shed light on life in ancient Greece.
10. Parietal art in Asphendou Cave (2018)
In Crete’s Asphendou cave, already known for its abundance of petroglyphs, archaeologists discovered what is believed to be Greece’s oldest example of art, dating back to the Ice Age more than 11,000 years ago.
The reliefs show up to 37 deer of an extinct type around that date, the Candiacervus ropalophorus.
11. Iklaina’s discoveries (2018)
The results of the excavations at Iklaina, some 10 kilometres northeast of the town of Pylos, have led to a review of our knowledge of the Mycenaean states, with truly unexpected findings. These include a primitive Mycenaean palace, large Cyclopean walls, terraces and inscriptions in Lineal B. Moreover, from the studies carried out the experts deduce that Iklaina was the first city-state of Greece.
12. The combat agate from Pylos (2017)
In the summer of 2015 archaeologists working around the Mycenaean palace of Nestor in Pylos, Greece, found a tomb with the remains of a warrior from 1500 B.C. Next to it was an amazing treasure made up of weapons, gold jewellery and other objects, mostly in Minoan style. A reconstruction of his face was even carried out and he was given the name of Griffin Warrior.
In November 2017, the team from the University of Cincinnati announced the discovery in the tomb itself of a truly impressive object: a seal carved from a precious stone that researchers already consider to be one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever found.