Remains found in ash altar may have been human sacrifice.
When discussing the society of the ancient Greeks, one’s mind conjures pictures of educated philosophers, lounging among works of art, reading poetry and presenting plays, but a shocking find is telling what might be a different narrative on at least a part of the world of the Greeks.
According to a story on smithsonianmag.com, researchers have uncovered what appears to be the remains of a teen-aged boy among many other animal remains at a spot where the Greeks reportedly made ritual sacrifices to their god, Zeus.
The remains were discovered on the side of Mount Lykaion, identified as the earliest known site of worship to Zeus, and are estimated to be around 3,000 years old. Previous finds at the site, which has been being investigated since 2006, have uncovered items, such as pottery shards, metal objects and tripods, as well as a number of animal bones. Some of the items date back as far as 5,000 years, even older that the belief in Zeus.
The boy’s remains were found at a site believed to be an ash altar, and until this year, no other evidence of human remains had been discovered at the site. According to the article, David Gilman Romano, professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona, said there have been several instances on Greek literature that mentioned human sacrifice, but until this discovery, there had not been any evidence of the ritual.
“Whether it’s a sacrifice or not, this is a sacrificial altar … so it’s not a place where you would bury an individual. It’s not a cemetery,” added Romano, who has worked at the site.
The remains were found deep in the pit, laid in an east-west orientation, with stones along the sides and other stones at the pelvis region. Part of the remain’s upper skull was missing.
Although some are skeptical that the remains were actually evidence of human sacrifice, no one has offered a different explanation as to why the remains were placed in that particular location.
Excavators continue to research the site and time will tell if more human remains are found.