More than 4,000 years ago, builders carved out the entire surface of a naturally pyramid-shaped promontory on the Greek island of Keros. They shaped it into terraces covered with 1,000 tonnes of specially imported gleaming white stone to give it the appearance of a giant stepped pyramid rising from the Aegean: the most imposing manmade structure in all the Cyclades archipelago. But beneath the surface of the terraces lay undiscovered feats of engineering and craftsmanship to rival the structure’s impressive exterior. Archaeologists from three different countries involved in an ongoing excavation have found evidence of a complex of drainage tunnels – constructed 1,000 years before the famous indoor plumbing of the Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete – and traces of sophisticated metalworking. This reports The Guardian.

A researcher holds a mould for making a spearhead from molten copper.
The Dhaskalio promontory is a tiny island as the result of rising sea levels, but 4,500 years ago was attached by a narrow causeway to Keros, now uninhabited and a protected site. In the third millennium BC Keros was a major sanctuary where complex rituals were enacted. Earlier excavations by the team from the University of Cambridge, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the Cyprus Institute have uncovered thousands of marble Cycladic sculptures – the stylised human figures which inspired western artists, including Pablo Picasso – and which appear to have been deliberately broken elsewhere and brought to the island for burial.

Maintaining as well as constructing the settlement would have taken a huge communal effort. The now-deserted slopes of Dhaskalio were once covered with structures and buildings, suggesting that 4,500 years ago it was one of the most densely populated parts of the islands – despite the fact that it could not have been self-sufficient, meaning that most food, like the stone and the ore for metal working, had to be imported.

The first evidence of metal-working was found in excavations 10 years ago. The new finds have uncovered two workshops full of metalworking debris, and objects including a lead axe, a mould for copper daggers and dozens of ceramic fragments from metalworking equipment including the mouth of a bellows. Archaeologists will return to excavate an intact clay oven, found at the very end of the last season.

Joint director of the excavation Michael Boyd, of the University of Cambridge, said metalworking expertise was evidently concentrated at Dhaskalio at a time when access to both skills and raw materials was very limited. Far-flung communities were drawn into networks centred on the site, craft and agricultural production was intensified, and the architecture became grander, gradually overshadowing the original importance of the sanctuary. Excavated soil reveals food traces including pulses, grapes, olives, figs and almonds, and cereals, including wheat and barley.

"What we are seeing here with the metalworking and in other ways is the beginnings of urbanization."

Evi Margaritis of the Cyprus Institute said:

"Much of this food was imported: in the light of this evidence we need to reconsider what we know about existing networks to include food exchange."

A researcher holds a mould for making a spearhead from molten copper. Photograph: Michael Boyd
The pyramid of terraces would have blazed in the Greek sun, visible from far off, covered in white stone imported from Naxos 10 kilometres away. The complex of drainage tunnels was discovered when archaeologists were excavating an imposing staircase in the lower terraces: research continues to discover whether they were for fresh water or sewage.

Lord Renfrew, joint director of the excavation, former Disney professor of archaeology at Cambridge and now the senior fellow at the McDonald Institute for archaeological research, first landed on Keros as a student and has returned often throughout his long career. He believes the promontory may originally have become a focus for development because it guarded the best natural harbour on the island, with wide views across the Aegean.

The excavations are being recorded digitally, using the iDig programme running on iPads for the first time in the Aegean. This creates three-dimensional models using photogrammetry recording of the entire digging process, giving everyone involved access to all data in real time.
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.

New things happening:
PAT rituals for Gamelion:
  • Gamelion 7 - January 25 - Sacrifice to the Kourotrophos and Apollon Delphios
  • Gamelion 7 - January 25 - Sacrifice to Apollon Lykeios
  • Gamelion 8 - January 26 - Sacrifice to Apollon Apotropaius, Apollon Nymphegetes, & the Nymphs at Erkhia
  • Gamelion 9 - January 27 - Sacrifice to Athena at Erkhia
  • Gamelion 12-15 - January 30 / February 2 - Lenaia - festival in honor of Dionysus in the Attic deme of Limnai
  • Gamelion 27 - February 14 - Theogamia/Gamelia - celebrating the sacred marriage of Zeus Teleios and Hera Telei
  • Gamelion 27 - February 14 - Sacrifice to Kourotrophos, Hera, Zeus Teleius, and Poseidon at Erkhia

Anything else?
Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

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I'm in the process of finishing up a writing guide I have been working on, so my time is very limited at the moment. I'm going to have to leave you with a video today, on Hellenic mythology.

Greek Mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the historic Greeks, regarding their gods and heroes, the nature of the sector, and the origins and importance of their own cult and formality practices. It became a part of the religion in historic Greece and is part of religion in present day Greece and round the world, called Hellenismos. Modern scholars talk to and observe the myths in an try to throw light on the non secular and political institutions of Ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the character of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, which includes vase-art work and votive items. Greek fantasy tries to provide an explanation for the origins of the sector, and details the lives and adventures of a extensive sort of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures. These bills initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic culture; today the Greek myths are recognized in general from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, Homer's epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, awareness on occasions surrounding the Trojan War. Two poems through Homer's close to current Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human a long time, the foundation of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are also preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire with the aid of writers consisting of Plutarch and Pausanias.

Archaeological findings offer a fundamental supply of element about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently within the ornament of many artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the 8th century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic durations, Homeric and diverse different mythological scenes seem, supplementing the existing literary proof.[2] Greek mythology has had an in depth affect at the lifestyle, arts, and literature of Western civilization and stays part of Western historical past and language. Poets and artists from historic instances to the existing have derived notion from Greek mythology and feature determined modern significance and relevance within the topics.
A new application created by a Greek entrepreneur gives visitors the chance to have 3D virtual tours of archaeological sites and see them the way they were in ancient times. As they say themselves: "Moptil provides the tourist offices with an Innovative Service for their customers. Delivers one tablet per tourist to help people visualize the Ancient monuments as they were in Antiquity with colors, statues, animated ancient Greeks and according to the consulting of renowned Archaeologists."

According to a Lifo magazine report, Mihalis Kokkinos founded Moptil in 2015, a company that creates animated archaeological sites. Visitors use a headset to take a virtual tour of an archaeological site to experience it the way it was centuries ago.

Using the Moptil device, around 60,000 people so far have seen the glorious colors of the whole Parthenon when it was built, statues that have since crumbled or been stolen over the ages, even ancient Greek athletes competing at Olympia.

The first application Kokkinos developed was the 3D virtual representation of the Acropolis. The goal was to be able to point a tablet in front of the monument and see it as it was in antiquity with statues, colors and details. The technical problems were too many, he told Lifo, but thanks to Augmented Reality technology they were solved.

Every application is created by a collaboration of 3D artists, computer programmers, archaeologists and painters, Kokkinos said. The company gives tourist guide agencies tablets with the app already installed, with no audio. Tour guides provide the verbal part.

Kokkinos said that in busy archaeological sites, such as the Acropolis in Athens or Lindos in Rhodes, the company had up to 350 tablets operating a day.

Virtual tours are on offer for the Acropolis, Olympia, Delphi, Knossos, Delos, Lindos and the Asklipio of Kos. The company’s next project is to develop 3D tour guides for archaeological sites in Italy, Spain and other popular tourist destinations. The tablets are also available to schools at discount prices.
I like scouring the internet for resources on ancient Hellas, and I stumbled upon another podcast channel I had somehow missed. It's called "The History of Ancient Greece Podcast" and can be found here.

As the creator states:

"Hello, I’m Ryan Stitt and welcome to the History of Ancient Greece.

I am not a professional historian, just an enthusiastic amateur. I studied Classical languages and ancient history at the University of Alabama, as well as some postgraduate work at UCLA. But for personal reasons, I stepped away from academia and ultimately decided to commission into the United States' Air Force.

But being away from academia doesn’t mean I love ancient history any less. In fact, it’s the opposite. I actually really miss it—except for the exams, of course! Ever since I studied abroad in Greece as a bright-eyed undergraduate, I have been in love with Greek culture and the ancient world in general. You can most definitely call me a Philhellene, a modern-day Hadrian if you will—minus the imperial powers, sadly.

I am also a huge fan of history podcasts; Mike Duncan’s History of Rome, Scott Chesworth’s The Ancient World, Jamie Redfern’s History Of series, Dominic Perry’s Egyptian History, Rob Monoco’s Podcast History of Our World—I could go on and on. As I listened to more and more podcasts, it didn’t seem like there was much out there covering Greek history. Sure, there are podcasts that deal with Greece but only from a general aspect as one cog in the machine that is western civilization or world history, or they deal with a particular subject or time period of Greek civilization—like mythology or the aforementioned Alexander the Great—but they left me wanting to know more, to dig deeper into the details. I also found absolutely nothing concerning Greek history after the death of Alexander the Great. In fact, most college courses and textbooks either end with his death or skip over the Hellenistic Period, only mentioning Greek existence in their relation to the Roman world. But those three centuries in between are a fascinating time of transformation, culturally and politically, as Greek culture was diffused throughout the entire eastern Mediterranean. So I figured that I would throw my hat in the proverbial ring and the give the people what they’re looking for, or at least what I was looking for.

The podcast begins in Greece’s mythological past, explaining what the Greeks themselves believed the origin of their universe was. Then we delve into the early archaeological evidence for humans in Greece and the way this society developed before the advent of writing. Over the course of our story we will cover almost 2000 years, from the Bronze Age period to the Roman conquest. I want to tell the long history of a fundamental civilization, bringing to life the fascinating stories of the ancient sources. But this isn’t a podcast just about stories, and it won’t just be political history, either. There too will be a big emphasis on social history, that is how the people actually lived their day-to-day lives, as well as their culture—art, architecture, philosophy, literature, religion, science, and all those other awesome aspects of the Greek achievement. This will be a comprehensive, in-depth political, social, and cultural history of Greece. So get excited, I know I am!

I should note, though, this is my first attempt at podcasting, so I welcome any and all suggestions. The podcast, hopefully, will be released every week, probably closer to the weekend. If there will be delays, I’ll let you know. The information and materials used to generate this podcast will come from a wide variety of sources, both primary and secondary, and I’ll also post pictures, maps, and other information to supplement the podcast."
I had a long discussion with someone yesterday, and despite having objective examples, research to back up my claim, and other people agreeing with me, the other party refused, or was simply unable, to change their opinion. The discussion went on for over an hour, and then I decided to end it in in kindness before I would get upset. A Hellenic friend, who had taken part in the linked me to Epictetus to calm me. It worked, so I'd like to share the text with you. If you ever find yourself in a discussion with someone that you seem unable to convince despite knowing you are in the right, step back and remember Epictetus.

“Epictetus said that if someone resists what is clearly true, then it is not easy to devise an argument to persuade him to change his mind. This is due neither to the man’s strength or the teacher’s weakness, but instead because once someone has been assailed and hardens to stone, how could anyone prevail upon him with reason?

Men are hardened to reason in two ways: one is the petrification of thought; the other comes from shame, whenever someone is deployed in battle to such a degree that he will not acknowledge what is obvious or depart from his fellow combatants. Most of us fear the necrosis of our bodies and we will do anything to avoid having this happen in anyway; but we don’t think at all about the mortification of our mind. By Zeus, if a man is disposed in such a way concerning the mind itself that he can’t follow any argument or understand anything, we believe that he is ill. But if shame or self-regard hardens a man, we still persist in calling this strength!”
[The Discourses - 1.5]

Translation by Sententiae Antiquae.
While browsing YouTube for new content yesterday, I came across this video, featuring Objects Conservator at the Worcester Art Museum, Paula Artal-Isbrand. She delivers a talk about ancient vase creation, and it contained quiet a few details I did not know about. I figured you'd like to watch it too.


This Master Series lecture focuses on three exquisite ceramic vases made in Athens over 2,500 years ago. Each vase has a unique shape and is representative of one of three major Attic painting techniques. Paula Artal-Isbrand, discusses how these masterpieces were shaped, decorated and then fired using an ingenious and mysterious method that potters were not able to replicate until recently. She also shares highlights of discoveries made during the lengthy conservation campaign, including finding a secret inner vessel within one of them. Amanda Reiterman, an archaeologist, brings these rich depictions to life and explains the function and relevance of these finely made objects in the context of the thriving metropolis of Athens.