Greece has not finished revealing its mysteries and its soil still hides many secrets dating back to antiquity. A new discovery was made this week by an international team of archaeologists. By excavating the region of Thessaly in the center of the country, the scientists uncovered the remains of a vast city hitherto unknown.
The archaeological site is located more precisely in Vlochos, five hours drive north of Athens on a hill called Strongilovoúni. Although it has been known for about 200 years, specialists have so far considered the region as largely rural and undeveloped during antiquity. The few ruins (walls, towers and bridges) discovered at the top of the hill had been associated with the past existence of a simple village… Incorrectly.
By carrying out excavations on the hill, archaeologists have discovered that Vlochos hides far more ruins than was believed at first. They were simply not clearly visible. “A colleague and I went to the site as part of another project last year and we immediately realized the great potential,” Robin Rönnlund, who led the research, said in a statement.
In collaboration with other researchers and local archaeological services, a project called Vlochos Archaeological Project (VLAP) was launched to explore the ruins. Early research was conducted in September 2016 and used an innovative method to explore the terrain without damaging the ancient site.
Rather than conducting invasive excavations, the researchers chose to use a ground penetrating radar or a geological radar. The technique consists of sending pulses into the ground and studying how they are returned to the surface by any objects that are below ground.
According to the results, archaeologists have revealed the presence of a square and a network of streets “which indicate that we are dealing with a relatively large city. The area within the walls of the city is over 40 hectares, “says Robin Rönnlund of the University of Göteborg in Sweden.
“What we used to consider as the remains of an unimportant settlement on a hill can now be seen as the remains of a city of greater significance after only one season,” says the archaeologist. Besides the ruins, ancient pottery as well as coins were also discovered.
Going back to different periods, these objects provide information to date the unknown city. “Our oldest finds go back to about 500 years before our era, but the city seems to have prospered mainly from the 4th to 3rd century BCE,” continues the archaeologist before adding that the city was then abandoned, Perhaps because of the Roman conquest of the region at that time.
The research carried out in Vlochos could thus provide valuable clues as to what happened during this violent period in the history of Greece. “Our project fills an important gap in the knowledge of the region and shows that much remains to be discovered in Greek soil,” concludes Robin Rönnlund.
Another in-depth mission is to be carried out between August and September 2017 in order to obtain a more complete overview of the 2500-year-old city.