For the past four years, archaeologists have been carefully excavating an ancient temple located at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia in the island of Euboea (Greece). This summer, their work revealed new clues about what life was like in ancient times.

The temple, built around 700 BC, was larger than expected at over 100 feet long in the Greek metric system. This “perfect” measurement is encountered on other monuments of the same period, according to archaeologists.

Inside, stone platforms discovered were likely where animals were sacrificed by burning parts of them as offerings to Artemis. Holes in the roof allowed smoke from the fires to escape.

Digging in the dirt near the temple, archaeologists found lots of old objects like pots, tools, and jewelry that were once offerings left by visitors long ago.

One especially unique find was an ivory sculpture of an Egyptian person, showing how people from faraway places brought exotic gifts.

Evidence suggests the first temple was later partly burned down, then rebuilt smaller using mud bricks before an even bigger replacement was constructed around 500 BC.

Deep holes dug by the archaeologists found older remains from 900-800 BC and even Bronze Age items like a terra cotta bull head dated to around 1200 BC, proving people had honored Artemis on this spot for thousands of years.

The temple sits at the bottom of a hill occupied since Bronze Age times over 3,000 years ago. Walls and ruins on top of the hill might have been part of a fort back then.

Records from an ancient palace mention a town called Amarynthos near the temple during the Mycenaean period 1500-1100 BC. Seeing sights from the distant past likely added to the area’s significance in religious traditions.

To learn more about how the temple was used, scientists are studying tiny animal bones and plant material left in layers of ashes and dirt.

Maps tracking settlements, fields, roads and quarries nearby give a picture of what the landscape looked like long ago. A sacred pathway connected the temple to a nearby large town.

After lots of digging and discoveries, archaeologists are now poring over their findings in labs.

By piecing together clues of a lost world, their work is illuminating the mysterious origins of one of the earliest places of worship in Greece.


Sources

Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece


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