Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni visited the Epidaurus Asclepeion archaeological site for a briefing yesterday. A story from ANA tells of her visit to discover recent progress on archaeological excavations that have revealed the remains of an even older temple building found at the shrine, in the vicinity of the Tholos.
The partly excavated building is dated to nearly 600 B.C. The site consists of a ground floor with a primitive colonnade and an underground basement carved out of the rock beneath. The stone walls of the basement are covered in a deep-red plaster and the floor is a strong pebble mosaic, which is one of the best-preserved examples of this rare type of flooring to survive from this era.
The find is considered important because it predates the impressive Tholos building in the same location, the basement of which served as the chthonic residence of Asclepius, and which replaced the new discovery after the 4th century B.C.
University of Athens Professor Vassilis Lamprinoudakis, who is the head of the excavations in ancient Epidaurus, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency back in January:
“This means the worship of Asclepius appears to have begun earlier in the Asclepieion of Epidaurus. Until now, it was believed to have begun around 550 BC, i.e., in the middle of the sixth century BC. Now it is evident that the structures are earlier, and this is particularly important for the history of the sanctuary and for the history of Asclepius himself.”
Minister Mendoni encouraged the archaeologists working on the site as to the completion of their work in revealing the structure in its entirety. She was also briefed on projects designed to showcase the archaeological site and the surrounding park using European Community funding.
Source: Tornos News