Τρίτη, 14 Ιουνίου 2016

Archaeologists discover Athens’ first oracle well dedicated to Apollo

athens-first-oracle-well-dedicated-apollo_1 Credit: Jutta Stroszeck
An 1,800-year old ancient oracular edifice might just be the first oracle ever discovered in the capital city of Athens. Now historically, the scope of ancient oracles and divination have always been connected to the famous Delphi (along with other sites) in Greece. But this fascinating discovery, conducted by the Kerameikos excavation project (by members of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens), might shed new light into how Apollo’s cult with its intricacies and secrets, may have also been popular in Athens. As for the well in question, it was possibly used for hydromancy – a divination method that entails the medium of water.

Coming to the location of this Athenian oracle well, the Kerameikos site is almost in the middle of the city, just northwest to the renowned Acropolis. While historically being the district of potters, the neighborhood was sumptuously supplied by water from the Eridanos River. Suffice it to say, the Athenians built many strategic wells that were connected to this water system, with some of them serving on a public basis. And it was this very sustaining ‘force’ of water that endowed it with a symbolic significance in Greek mythology. As Dr. Jutta Stroszeck, director of the Kerameikos excavation, said (to Haaretz) –