Long before Homer wrote the Iliad, the real-life progenitors of the epic poem's characters might have visited a small outpost on the Greek coast. Archaeologists have discovered a spectacularly preserved ancient harbor town of the Mycenaeans, the civilization on which many ancient Greek legends were based. Though the settlement was built 3,500 years ago, hundreds of walls are still standing.The site, which is partially underwater, lies along a rocky, isolated stretch of shoreline. Scientists suspect it may havebeen built as a military outpost. "This is really a remarkable find," said Daniel Pullen, an archaeologist at Florida State University who discovered the site.
"It is rare indeed to locate an entire town built during the Late Bronze Age that shows this level of preservation."The site is unique because the remains of most Mycenaean towns are completely buried by now under a few millennia's worth of dirt and detritus. This one stands above ground, with many walls incredibly intact.
excavate Mycenaean buildings you have to dig underground," Pullen told
LiveScience. "What we have here is the plan of an entire town preserved
for us. We have the fortification wall, we have all these buildings,
and we can often see where the doorways would be. We can see howthe
buildings relate to each other, because we have obvious alleyways and
When Pullen and his team first inspected the walls at the site, they counted more than 900 of them, he said.
The structures are mostly
aligned along a grid, leading scientists to think the city was built
all at once, as opposed to gradually over time, which would likely
result in a more random arrangement of buildings.
"We think it was built for
a specific purpose," Pullen said. "We have evidence that there were a
few people at this site for a long time before. Then at some particular
point people came in and established this as a new outpost or maybe a
naval or military base. And they brought their engineers and builders
with them and constructed the main part of the site all at once."
Another clue that thecity
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