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Zeus’ Altar of Ashes

Excavations at the Sanctuary of Zeus on top of Mount Lyakion in Greece have revealed the first documented mountaintop shrine from the ancient Greek world.

Ritual ceremonies were conducted in a part of the open-air sanctuary called the ash altar of Zeus. It now consists of a mound of ash, stone and various inscribed dedications to Zeus, the head god of Greek mythology. Romano’s team has found no evidence of a temple or structures of any kind on Mount Lykaion.

Work conducted over the past two years at the ash altar of Zeus has unearthed material from many phases of Greek civilization. Finds include pottery of various types, terra cotta figurines of people and animals, and burned bones of sheep and goats.

Chemical analyses have revealed traces of red wine on the inside surfaces of some pottery fragments, Romano says.

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