The Greek Culture Ministry announced this week new discoveries from excavations at the ancient city of Tenea in the Peloponnese. Archaeologists led by Eleni Korka, have uncovered a complex of bathing facilities, of roughly 600 square meters, dating from between the end of the third century BC to the mid-1st century BC.
The lost city of Tenea, which is mentioned in several Greek myths as well as historical texts, was uncovered in October of 2018. One of the sources mentioning the existence of the city of Tenea is the ancient legend of Oedipus, the mythical king of Thebes who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. The new discoveries include massive baths dating from Roman times.
According to the announcement, there are three bath areas that once had heated water, two of them ending in arches and well-preserved clay floors; some of the floors miraculously still have paint on them.
Also uncovered, an ancient well 15 meters (49 feet) deep was found to the north of the baths. Adjacent to the well there seems to be an area devoted to ritual. Archaeologists found figurines and miniature vessels, that had been deposited there. Other objects recently uncovered by the archaeologists include vessels for the storage of aromatic oils as well as parts of statues dating from Hellenistic times.
According to the ancient Greek historian Pausanias, who lived and wrote in the second century A.D., the city of Tenea was founded by the Trojans sometime around 1100 BC and its buildings were constructed by prisoners of war. The spot was selected because it was on the road between Corinth and the ancient settlement of Mycenae. Also according to legend, Oedipus himself was believed to have been raised here after being sent away from his parents as a baby.
Tenea was for many years one of the biggest and most prosperous cities in the ancient region of Corinthia in the northern Peloponnese. Until 2018, however, no one had been able to work out exactly where it was located – or why it had declined and seemingly disappeared off the map.
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