On the Greek island of Euboea, the Swiss Institute of Archaeology has tirelessly excavated the ruins of the Temple of Artemis discovered in 2017 after a decade of research by a team of Swiss researchers. The discoveries are numerous and extraordinary.
In recent weeks, the island of Euboa, north of Athens, has been publicized by a violent fire, while also revealing one of its best-kept secrets. After several years of research, Swiss archaeologists have managed to decipher ancient manuscripts to find a popular site for the Temple of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.
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Over a six-week period during the summer, nearly 40 people from the Swiss Institute of Archaeology excavated the ruins of the Temple of Artemis Amarissia. In hot weather, archaeologists, architects, restorers, morphological geologists or students meticulously examine every remains on the site, which now covers more than 5,000 square meters. This summer, thanks to digital technology, discoveries are numerous and the pace is picking up, and the site will soon be open to the public.
Tamara Saggini, a doctoral student at the University of Geneva, said: “The figurine we found was last held 2,500 years ago. It’s spectacular, it’s very moving. It’s simply breathtaking.”
The first remains of the Temple of the Goddess of the Hunt were discovered in 2012. Five years later, a team led by Professor Karl Robben and excavator Tobias Krapf excavated the shrine under a house in the Eretria region. There, they found porches and buildings, proving that it was an important place, not just a place of sacrifice. “You have to imagine that every year the entire population of Eretria moved en masse to the holy site of Artemis Amaricia to celebrate the goddess,” explained Sylvian Fachard, director of the Swiss Institute of Archaeology.
A job comparable to an “expert”
The excavation was long and meticulous, like hard work. “We can compare this to the ‘expert’ series. We take samples from inside the formation throughout the excavation, about thirty. We then have constant discussions with the lab’s micromorphologists to really determine the history of the site …laboratory studies might tell us that one layer has been in the open for 50 years, because we can even see raindrops on the sedimentary layer,” says Sylvian Fachard.
More surprises to come
As for the Greek authorities, they are pleased with the cooperation with Switzerland and see great potential. Angeliki Simosi, head of Euboea Antiquities Ephoria, said: “This is just the beginning of a great discovery. After all, in ancient times, not only gods were honored, but also goddesses like Artemis, with whom she had beautiful clothes and her headdresses” .
How did the people of Euboea live 2,500 years ago? What are beliefs and rituals? Thanks to these archaeological excavations, the veil of mystery is slowly dissipating.
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