Ancient Greeks in Ukraine and other news

Using aerial photography and geophysical surveys, archaeologists from Poland have confirmed the location of a Greek settlement in Ukraine that was probably founded in the second century BC. Particularly visible are the outlines of the city’s fortifications. The Greek city of Olbia was located nearby and the archaeologists suggest that ‘The settlement could […] have played a role in securing the waterway up the Dnieper.’

The Polish team intend to conduct excavations at the site next year. The settlement discovered using non-intrusive means is one of more than a dozen sites in the area of the lower Dnieper. Provided they get the funding, the team would like to do a more in-depth survey of the area. Some of the sites mapped through aerial photography and other means were already known among the local people, as robbers have already dug around a few of the sites in hopes of finding treasure.

On the subject of illegal excavations, the Tourism and Antiquities police in Egypt arrested some people who were digging around under a hourse near the Edfu temple at Aswan. As a result of these activities, a new chapel has come to light that dates to the Ptolemaic era. The part of the chapel that is currently visible features scenes supposedly depicting Ptolemy VII, an otherwise fairly obscure Pharaoh who is thought to have reigned in the second century BC.

Based on a new C14 dating, researchers from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, claim that the date for the earliest mining in the Alps can brought down to about 1500 BC (ca. 3500 years ago). This information must have been known before, but is being publicized now to coincide with the appearance of a monograph on the research conducted in the Alps.

Indeed, you may have noticed by now that much archaeological news tends to be sensationalist and misleading. Witness this article on Selinunte, for example. Selinunte was a major city in Sicily that was captured towards the end of the fifth century BC by the Carthaginians, dealing a disastrous blow from which the city never really recovered (but not really its ‘fall’, as the article claims), and it was not abandoned until the mid-third century BC. The article claims the city is a ‘Greek Pompeii’, which is nonsense, as its demise was far more gradual. Research there has also been ongoing for years, which makes it all the more puzzling why all of a sudden it should be published as ‘news’.

Somewhat more humble is the news that archaeologists in Iran have discovered a workshop with an attached clay tablet archive. The title suggests that an entirely new site has been discovered, but the text makes clear the discoveries were made in a city that was already well known and served as ‘prominent center’ in Elam.

Picture credit: thumbnail for this post taken from this article on discoveries in Ukraine.

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