Swedish and Greek archaeologists discover unknown city in Greece

December 13, 2016 by Cecilia Köljing
Fragment of red-figure pottery from the late 6th century BC, probably by Attic painter Paseas. Credit: SIA/EFAK/YPPOA

An international research team at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, is exploring the remains of an ancient city in central Greece. The results can change the view of an area that traditionally has been considered a backwater of the ancient world.

Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to severalhistorical periods.

'What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one season,' says Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork.

'A colleague and I came across the site in connection with another project last year, and we realised the great potential right away. The fact that nobody has never explored the hill before is a mystery.'

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute at Athens and the local archaeological service in Karditsa, the Vlochós Archaeological Project (VLAP) was started with an aim to explore the remains. The project's research teamcompleted the first field season during two weeks in September 2016.

The city's acropolis is barely visible during a cloudy day on the Thessalian plains. Credit: SIA/EFAK/YPPOA

Rönnlund says that the hill is hiding many secrets. Remains of towers, walls and city gates can be found on the summit and slopes, but hardly anything is visible on the ground below. The ambition is to avoid excavation and instead use methods such as ground-penetrating radar, which will enable the team to leave the site in the same shape as it was in when they arrived. The success of this approach is evident from the results of the first field season:

'We found a town square and a street grid that indicate that we are dealing with quite a large city. The area inside the city wall measures over 40 hectares. We also found ancient pottery and coins that can help to date the city. Our oldest finds are from around 500 BC, but the seems to have flourished mainly from the fourth to the third century BC before it was abandoned for some reason, maybe in connection with the Roman conquest of the area.

Rönnlund believes that the Swedish-Greek project can provide important clues as to what happened during this violent period in Greek history.

'Very little is known about ancient cities in the region, and many researchers have previously believed that western Thessaly was somewhat of a backwater during Antiquity. Our project therefore fills an important gap in the knowledge about the area and shows that a lot to be discovered in the Greek soil.'

Explore further: Archaeological discovery yields surprising revelations about Europe's oldest city

Related Stories

Ancient mass graves discovered in Greece

April 14, 2016

Archaeologists have discovered two mass graves near the Greek capital containing the skeletons of 80 men who may have been followers of ancient would-be tyrant Cylon of Athens.

Subway work unearths ancient road in Greece

June 26, 2012

(AP) — Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a 70-meter (230-foot) section of an ancient road built by the Romans that was city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.

Discovery of a 2,700-year-old portico in Greece

October 9, 2013

A 2,700-year-old portico was discovered this summer on the site of the ancient city of Argilos in northern Greece, following an archaeological excavation led by Jacques Perreault, Professor at the University of Montreal's ...

Recommended for you

The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer

December 14, 2017

Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmers. These long extinct "paddle saurians" propelled themselves through the oceans by employing "underwater flight"—similar to sea turtles and penguins. Paleontologist from the ...

Averaging the wisdom of crowds

December 12, 2017

The best decisions are made on the basis of the average of various estimates, as confirmed by the research of Dennie van Dolder and Martijn van den Assem, scientists at VU Amsterdam. Using data from Holland Casino promotional ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.