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Hellenistic-Era Sanctuary Uncovered in Central Greece

Hellenistic-era structures were found this week in Larissa, Central Greece. Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

Ancient Greek and Hellenistic era structures were discovered by the in the archaeological site of Skiathas, in Larissa, central Greece the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport announced on Friday.

According to the announcement, the excavations took place in an area where a marble threshold and parts of walls were uncovered. The data show that the structure is a sanctuary dating back to Hellenistic times (3rd-2nd century BC), which is made of alabaster and local stone.

Other Ancient Greek remains were also found, such as part of the entablature and five Doric-style chapiters, or tops of columns. Inside the structure, even more finds were discovered, including a pedestal to a statue, a section of a column, and a marble leg, as well as two marble sculptures of the heads of children, portraying a girl and a boy.

Statue from the Hellenistic-era archaeological site in Larissa, Central Greece. Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

The excavation location is in the coastal area of ​​Kato Polydendri in the Municipality of Agia in Larissa Prefecture, next to the port of Agiokampos.

Excavations to unearth ancient Greek remains have been carried out in the heavily-forested and almost-inaccessible acropolis at the archaeological site. Due to severe weather and possible human interventions over the years, however, parts of the Hellenistic-era building were beginning to show.

The research is being carried out under the supervision of archaeologist Nektaria Alexiou.

Hellenistic Era, Ancient Greek Remains Found

This ancient Greek settlement in Larissa extends to a low hill on the eastern foothills of Mount Mavrovouni, which connects the Ossa Mountain range to the north with the Pelion Mountains to the south.

The walled settlement, covering an area of ​​55 acres, featured natural fortifications in the form of a deep stream to the north, west and south of the site. Built on stepped terraces and stretched east to the sea, reaching the rocky shores of the northern Aegean. It also appears to have had two natural coves that were most likely its ports.

Previous excavations of this ancient Greek settlement, conducted by honorary curator of Antiquities Athanassios Tziafalias revealed a citadel wall. Other important finds from the Larissa area include sculptures, ceramics, and coins, most of them from the classical and Hellenistic eras. Some of these ancient Greek artifacts are on display in the museums of Larissa and Volos, while others remain in storage.

Hellenistic-era structures were recently found in Larissa, Central Greece. Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

According to the same ministerial announcement, the Larissa excavations also revealed movable ancient Greek finds from the Hellenistic era, such as iron nails, an iron arrowhead, bronze rings, copper bottle sections, other lead artifacts and copper Thessalian and Macedonian coins.

Along with the metal artifacts, the remains included many clay items, including clay textile weights, clay lamps, paintings, drinking vessels and fragments of commercial amphorae.

Among the clay remains were sealed tiles with the names of owners of ceramic workshops, as well as a tile with the inscription “MELIVOIAS.” This leads researchers to believe that there is a connection between the Ancient Greek settlement of Skiathas with the important ancient city of Magnesia Melivoia.

Hellenistic-era structures were recently found in Larissa, Central Greece. Credit: Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

This is the first building of the walled ancient Greek city to be uncovered outside what are considered the city walls. This new building, along with the newly discovered square tower belonging to the mainly Byzantine period are being investigated now.

Researchers expect to find the answers to many important archaeological questions from the Ancient Greek and Hellenistic era by continuing their excavations of this coastal area.

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