Archaeologists find remains of lost city of Tenea first settled by prisoners who survived the Trojan war

Greece's culture ministry said that archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of a lost city that the ancient Greeks believed was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy.

A ministry statement said excavations from September to early October in the southern Greek region of the Peleponnese turned up 'proof of the existence of the ancient city' of Tenea, until now known mostly from ancient texts.

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times.

  Remains of walls and floors, probably from houses, from the lost ancient city of Tenea. The ministry said Tuesday archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of the city that, according to tradition, was first settled by Trojan war captives after the Greek sack of Troy.

Remains of walls and floors, probably from houses, from the lost ancient city of Tenea. The ministry said Tuesday archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of the city that, according to tradition, was first settled by Trojan war captives after the Greek sack of Troy.

THE HISTORY OF TENEA
One famous description of Tenea comes from Pausanias

  A Trojan horse is shown in a scene from the action film 'Troy' starring Brad Pitt.

A Trojan horse is shown in a scene from the action film 'Troy' starring Brad Pitt.

'Such is the account I heard of the Asopus. 

When you have turned from the Acrocorinthus into the mountain road you see the Teneatic gate and a sanctuary of Eilethyia. 

The town called Tenea is just about sixty stades distant. 

The inhabitants say that they are Trojans who were taken prisoners in Tenedos by the Greeks, and were permitted by Agamemnon to dwell in their present home. 

For this reason they honor Apollo more than any other god. Pausanias, Description of Greece

A pottery jar containing the remains of two human fetuses was also found amid the foundations of one building. 

  Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery

That was unusual, as the ancient Greeks typically buried their dead in organized cemeteries outside the city walls.

Lead archaeologist Elena Korka, who has been excavating in the area since 2013, told The Associated Press that her team had only been digging in the rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea until this year. 

In one, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century B.C. marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

'This year we excavated part of the city itself,' Korka said.

Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Hiliomodi about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Athens.

Archaeologists discovered nine burials there this year, finding gold, copper and bone jewelry, pottery and coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to Roman times.

'The citizens seem to have been remarkably affluent,' Korka said, adding that the city probably did well out of trade, standing on a key route between the major cities of Corinth and Argos in the northeastern Peloponnese.

  A bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times were also uncovered

A bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times were also uncovered

So far, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily.

Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which will continue over coming years.

'(The city) had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west ... and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies,' she said.

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighboring Corinth in 146 B.C., and flourished under Roman rule. 

It appears to have suffered damage during a Gothic invasion in the late 4th century A.D. and may have been abandoned around the time of Slavic incursions two centuries later.

Source: dailymail.co.uk