Excavation work that took place in Chiliomodi, south of Corinth, has brought to light architectural remains, which finally confirms the existence of ancient Tenea, which up to now was known only from references in written sources, Greece’s Ministry of Culture announced on Tuesday.
Ancient Greeks believed this lost city was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy.
Tenea is known for its link with Troy and its citizens who formed the majority of the Greek colonists who discovered the city of Syracuse in Sicily.
In a statement related to excavations at Chiliomodi, the Ministry said that housing remains “confirm the location of the ancient city, the existence of which was known solely from historical sources and passing references by researchers.”
Two areas were excavated from September 1 to October 10 in the extensive site at Chiliomodi, a cemetery, and the residential area further north. Both yielded extensive findings including skeletons from seven burials, 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.
At the cemetery, four Roman-era tombs were found north of the funerary monument, and another three dating to the Hellenistic era were dug at a lower level; one of the latter appeared to have been reused at Roman times. Of all skeletons recovered, two belonged to adult males, five to adult females and two to children. One of the graves contained the remains of a woman and a child, the Ministry said.
All tombs were richly adorned with vessels, coins and gold, bronze and bone jewellery. Found with them was a ring with a seal depicting the Egyptian god Serapis on a throne and Cerberus, the Greek three-headed dog guarding Hades.
The Ministry said that the cemetery was so far found to contain 35 graves, several with multiple burials. “The burial findings confirm the city’s prosperity through time,” it noted.
Over 200 coins found at the residential area also dated to the early Hellenistic and late Roman eras, a time during which the buildings underwent several changes and adjustments – with several minted during the reign of Roman emperor Septimius Severus (reign: 193-211 AD) and rare coinage from Peloponnesian cities.
According to the Ministry, the data of this season’s results “leads to the conclusion that the community probably experienced the repercussions of Alaric’s raid in the Peloponnese in 396-397 AD, and it may have been abandoned at the end of the 6th century AD, during the Avar and Slavic raids.”
In its announcement, the Ministry named the donors and the importance of briefing the local community, which generously allowed surveys on their fields. The lead excavator is Elena Korka, director general emerita of the General Secretariat of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage at the Ministry.
Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Hiliomodi about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Athens and more discoveries are expected to emerge during the excavations, which will continue over coming years.