Did a Tsunami Destroy Olympia?

According to new evidence from a geomorphological and geoarcheological study conducted by Professor Andreas Vött of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, the shrine at Olympia was destroyed by a tsunami, not an earthquake in 551 CE as previously thought. Let’s go to the press release!

west of the central Kladeos River valley and the range of hills which separate Olympia from the wider coastal area; photo: Andreas Vött

Olympia, site of the famous Temple of Zeus and original venue of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, was presumably destroyed by repeated tsunamis that travelled considerable distances inland, and not by earthquake and river floods as has been assumed to date. Evidence in support of this new theory on the virtual disappearance of the ancient cult site on the Peloponnesian peninsula comes from Professor Dr Andreas Vött of the Institute of Geography of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Vött investigated the site as part of a project in which he and his team are studying the paleotsunamis that occurred along the coastlines of the eastern Mediterranean over the last 11,000 years. According to his account, the geomorphological and sedimentological findings in the area document that Olympia and its environs were destroyed by tsunami impact. The site of Olympia, rediscovered only some 250 years ago, was buried under a massive layer of sand and other deposits that is up to 8 meters deep. [More…]

 

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