Archaeologists working in the Peloponnesian city that organized the ancient Olympic Games have unearthed a 5,500-year-old cemetery expected to shed light on an obscure period of early Greek history, the Ministry of Culture said yesterday.
The 25 graves, some of which contain over 10 burials, emerged during a rescue dig on the site of ancient Elis ahead of work to build a theater. Dug into a knoll, the cemetery dates between the Final Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age (3500-2800 BC). Each grave was approached by a small cutting, much like later Mycenaean tombs.
Offerings of pottery and jewelry accompanied the prehistoric Eleans in their journey to the other world.
“The abundant skeletal remains, which have survived in excellent condition, together with the grave offerings and the burial customs will provide highly significant information on societal structures in the prehistoric settlement,” a ministry announcement said. “This settlement appears to have been in touch with other cultures in the Aegean.”Kathimerini