Greece – Excavations in the top of a Greek mountain, where Zeus is believed to have been born, discovered a human skeleton that could prove the legends that involved human sacrifice to the all mighty god.
Greek-American archaeologists have been working on Mount Lykaion, a location where people came to worship Zeus because according to mythology, the god was born there. Legends told that human sacrifices were made along with animal sacrifices, but this is the first time in history that the remains of a human are found in the mountain.
Greece’s culture ministry announced last week that the team of researchers discovered a three thousand human skeleton, apparently from a teenager. But the finding does not mean that the legends are true. The adolescent was buried in the heart of the 100-foot ash altar, next to a man-made stone platform. Around the remains, archaeologists also found pottery that dates back to the 11th century BC. Those times were known as the end of the Mycenaean era when people were immortalized on Greek myths.
The head of the local archaeological service, Anna Karapanagiotou, said that all would be studied, but for now, it is not final the relation of the remains to human sacrifice.
David Gilman Romano, professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona, stated that whether it is a sacrifice or not, the skeleton is inside a sacrificial altar. Mount Lykaion is not a cemetery, and it is a peculiar place to bury someone.
The mountain is mentioned by classical writers, including Plato, and they all relate Mount Lykaion to human sacrificed to Zeus. The legend says that a boy was sacrificed with animals. They were then cooked and eaten together and whoever ate the human part would become a wolf for nine years, The Washington Post says.
But for Dr. Jan N. Bremmer, professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, said that until now, most studies of human sacrifice in ancient Greece concluded to be fiction. The practice was believed not to be part of the Greek culture, opposing Israelites, Romans, and Egyptians that are well known for engaging in human sacrifices for religious purposes.
Bremmer stays skeptical because the location could be influencing the discovery, The Guardian reported.
Zeus and Mount Lykaion: The place that received thousands of sacrifices
Mount Lykaion is in the Peloponnese region, and it is known as the birthplace of Zeus since the earliest days. Zeus was worshiped there and despite human sacrifice has not been confirmed, animals were certainly slaughter to please the Greek god.
Research proves that at least from the 16th century BC until 300 BC, thousands of animals were killed to be offered to Zeus.
Zeus was the Greek god of the sky and thunder, the leader of the other 11 Olympian gods of the pantheon.
What it is surprising is that Mount Lykaion, despite the strong references found in ancient writing, only about 7 percent of the altar has been excavated. The excavations started between 2007 and 2010 and again this year.
Source: The Guardian