domingo, 12 de mayo de 2013

Archaeologists Unearth Lost Temple of Apollo

Key findings from the ancient Greek settlement of Apollonia Pontica emerge from excavations on a Black Sea island.
Hidden for over two thousand years beneath the surface, remains of the ancient Greek colony known as Apollonia Pontica are being excavated by a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers on an island near the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria.
Located on St. Kirik Island near the coastal town of Sozopol, the site represents some of the remains of a Greek settlement founded by Miletian colonists in the 7th century BC on the western Black Sea coast, an area ruled at that time by Thracian kings. It eventually became prosperous through trade in copper, gold, olives, wine and other luxurious Mediterranean goods, and it was here that a famous 13 meter high bronze statue of Apollo was erected in the 5th century B.C. in front of Apollo’s temple. Used as the prototype of the Colossus of Rhodes, it was then transported to Rome in 72 B.C. when the Romans sacked the city. It is noted to have been displayed on the Capitoline Hill for centuries, but, along with its associated temple, it was lost to history.
Although no remains of the statue have been found, archaeologists are now excavating what could be the remains of the temple, along with many other structures and artifacts associated with the colony. Led by Krastina Panayotova of the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the research team has thus far uncovered elements of the earliest Greek settlement on the island (7th - 6th centuries, B.C.); an Archaic temple complex (late 6th - early 5th centuries B.C.) which includes a temple and an altar, thought to be the famous temple of Apollo itself; an oval altar and temple from the Hellenistic period (4th century B.C.); a Classical period Greek tholos (circular temple); a copper foundry; and an early Byzantine basilica and necropolis (5th - 7th centuries A.D.). The most recent finds from the 2012 excavation season included an Archaic period ritual pit (bothros) with a rich assembly of finds such as small pottery perfume containers, one still containing the remains of perfume or make-up; a Hellenistic ritual fireplace with the remains of a wreath; and other numerous small finds and architectural structures.

Referring to the temple complex presumed to be that of the famous temple of Apollo, Panayotova and colleagues report that the "epigraphic sources mention that the temple of Apollo was situated on an island, identified by most of the scholars with St. Kirik Island - the closest one to the ancient city. However, until recently there was no archaeological evidence suggesting where the temple was situated".
Looking ahead to the 2013 Season, Panayotova "envisions excavations at the top of the island, in the area of the Archaic and Classic Greek and Hellenistic temples, ancient Greek copper foundry and the early Christian basilica, where the excavations in 2012 took place".
More information about the excavations and how one can participate can be found at the Balkan Heritage Field School website.

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