Clay plaque found at Olympia among ‘Top 10 Discoveries of 2018’

Clay plaque found at Olympia among ‘Top 10 Discoveries of 2018’

An engraved clay plaque found in Ancient Olympia, believed to be the oldest known extract of Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey,” has made the list of the “Top 10 Discoveries of 2018” of the current issue of Archaeology, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.

According to preliminary assessments, the plaque dates back to the Roman era, possibly earlier than the 3rd century AD, and was found with other Roman-era remains near the Sanctuary of Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games in the Peloponnese peninsula, during a surface survey.

The clay piece appears to be the oldest surviving excerpt of Book 14 of the Odyssey, verses 1-8 and 9-13, according to an announcement after its discovery in July 2018. The excavating team said at the time that “as far as we know, it is the first example of a clay plaque containing an excerpt of the Odyssey, and experts are researching whether this is the oldest sample of Homer’s epic poems to have been found on Greek territory (with the exception of pottery shards containing one or two verses).”

The plaque was found during a geoarchaeological survey conducted around the sanctuary under the supervision of Dr Erofili-Iris Kollia, director of the Ilia Prefecture Ephorate of Antiquities, with the collaboration of the German Archaeological Institute and three German universities.

Other discoveries included in the top-10 list of Archaeology magazine are the wreck of a 2,400-year-old Greek commercial ship found on the seabed of the Black Sea, considered the oldest undisturbed shipwreck in the world, and the erotic frescoes uncovered in Pompeii in 2018 during the first large-scale excavations at a section of the famous site.

The full list can be found here. [ANA-MPA]

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