NEWS

Finds from Corinth go on show at the railway station

Numerous finds came to light during work on the railroad that links Athens to the Peloponnese. Cemeteries representing a full range of funerary architecture and customs were found north of Ancient Corinth, as was a section of the Long Walls that connected the ancient city to the port of Lechaio and part of a Roman engineering project. Passengers using the new Corinth railway station will be able to see some examples of finds discovered since December 2002, when excavation began under the supervision of the 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. The dig was funded by ERGOSE. An exhibition at the railway station includes copies of vases and grave ornaments, along with photographs of cemeteries and the remnants of ruins. The display covers the Geometric period, Archaic, Late Classical and Roman eras. Hercules in Thebes What may be the oldest site of the cult of Hercules was found on private land in Thebes, archaeologist Vassileios Aravantinos reported last November. The dig has been completed, he told the Friends of the National Archaeological Museum on October 12, but now Aravantinos wants to continue and explore nearby areas in the hope of finding the house of Amphitryonos, where Hercules was supposedly born. Speaking on «Hercules and Heracleides in Thebes,» Aravantinos explained that many invaluable finds have already been unearthed. A large area containing 300 pottery shards that are awaiting conservation is expected to yield a trove of information. Among the finds were traces of the cult – bones, ashes, columns, a figurine of Hercules, a small kouros – but, above all, inscriptions, which have predictably attracted the interest of archaeologists. Inscriptions painted on the vases mention adjectives such as aristos (excellent) and athanatos (immortal), which suit the mythical hero. There is evidence that the site was in use from the eighth century BC to 480 BC. The temple of Hercules has not yet been found but Aravantinos is optimistic. He believes the site was probably destroyed after the battle of Plataea. The plot of land beneath which the finds lay buried is on the southwest side of the Acropolis of Cadmeia. Part of a stylobate was found with the lower cylinders of a Doric column and part of an ancient building. Of interest among the movable items are colored potsherds depicting the hero’s labors, bronze objects, statues and intact vases portraying the Argonauts’ expedition. The dig yielded ceramics, architectural elements and two graves without ornaments from the Mycenaean era. Incorporated into the Byzantine finds discovered in the center of the plot of land were archaic architectural elements (possibly from the temple of Apollo Ismeniou), suggesting there may have been a dual cult of Hercules and Apollo.