Archaeologists have uncovered portions of the ancient Greek city of Tenea, whose residents claimed they were prisoners of the Trojan War, the Greek Ministry of Culture announced this week.
The uncovered parts of the city go date back between 300 B.C. and A.D. 400.
Buildings from the town and part of a cemetery containing the burials of 2 men, 5 women (one of whom was buried with a child) and two children were uncovered.
The burials contain a variety of grave goods, including gems made of bone, bronze and gold, as well as vases and coins.
An iron ring bearing an picture of the god Serapis, a deity revered in both Greece and Egypt, was also discovered in the cemetery.
Researchers have known the general location of Tenea since at least the 19th century — it is situated near to the modern-day village of Chiliomodi — but they have done little scientific excavation at the site.
The ancient Greek historian specialist Pausanias (who lived from A.D. 143 to 176) wrote that residents of Tenea believed that they were the descendants of Trojans who were taken prisoner during the Trojan War.
That conflict (if it did occur) happened more than 3,000 years back. Pausanias claimed that the people of the city honored “Apollo more than any other god” (translation by W.H.S. Jones and H.A. Ormerod).
The recent excavations revealed no remains dating back 3,000 years.
Roman prosperity and fall
Archaeologists tried to date, as accurately as they could, all the structures and artifacts they found at the site.
The specialists used these dates to try to get a sense of how the city had changed over time.
Rome occupied much of Greece in 146 B.C., and Tenea was part of the Roman Empire for many years.
Examination of the archaeological remains suggests that Tenea experienced economic growth during the rule of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (reign A.D. 193-211), who came to power after winning a civil war.
Tenea’s prosperity, however, did not last. During the late 4th century, the number of artifacts seems to decline, and Tenea appears to have suffered after Alaricus, a Gothicking, raided.
The Peloponnese (the area of Greece in which Tenea is situated) between A.D. 396 and 397, the archaeologists said in the statement.
The researchers added that the city staggered on after this, and it may have been abandoned during the 6th century A.D.
Excavations at Tenea have been carried out since 2016 by a team of Greek archaeologists led by Elena Korka, an archaeologist with Greece’s General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage.