Article name: Human burial found in the middle of sacrificial altar at Mt. Lykaion
Description: Mt. Lykaion, the place that Zeus was believed to be born and raised, has been a site known for sacrifices. Usually goats and sheep, there is a dedicated ash altar with sacrificial remnants that can be dated from the 16th century BC to the Hellenistic period. Recently, however, a human skeleton was found in the middle of the altar.
Mt. Lykaion, where Zeus was said to be born and raised, has great holy significance to the ancient Greek people. Ashes from sacrificial goats and sheep were commonplace from the 16th century to the Hellenistic period. In summer, 2016, however, human remains were found roughly centered in the ash altar. Their skull was missing, but their lower jaw was preserved. Pottery associated with the skeleton was dated to the Mycenaean period, suggesting that the burial likely dates approximately to the 11th century BC. The skeleton is still being studied, but the body’s position and East/West orientation clearly indicate its importance.
Also discussed in the article are some findings at a nearby site, including a staircase and some clay sima (upturned parts of a roof to act as a gutter) associated with an administrative building.
What struck me in this article was how the skeleton was dated by associating it with the pottery. I was originally looking for an article that used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the bones left behind, but the first two I checked both used pottery found during the excavation. Perhaps it’s simply too recent to have been dated using radiocarbon dating. Maybe it’s also just cheaper to get an approximate date with the associated pottery than it is to do radiocarbon dating.