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Excavations bring to light traces of earthquake at Himera

In the area of the Piano del Tamburino, an area of the ancient Greek colony of Himera on the north coast of Sicily, two interesting sacred areas have been brought to light in the last eight years.

Excavations bring to light traces of earthquake at Himera
Credit: Parco di Himera
The excavation concentrated on one of the sacred areas, characterized by a vast and very interesting open space of over 100 square metres with three altars and numerous votive depositions consisting mostly of small vases used during ceremonies: this is the heart of the sanctuary where the Himerians held their festivals, rituals and other activities related to the sacred world.

The open space was surrounded by two buildings, to which a third has now been added, and which will be further investigated in future excavations.

Excavations bring to light traces of earthquake at Himera
Credit: Parco di Himera
The novelty of this year is the discovery of traces of a violent earthquake that seems to have taken place in the late Archaic period. Written sources do not tell mention the episode. The archaeological findings therefore indicate a possible important episode in the life of the city of Himera, of which we were absolutely not aware, a dramatic event that must have profoundly marked its inhabitants and the image of the city. Life in the sacred area, of which the building in question was part, resumed after the earthquake and continued until the destruction of Himera by the Carthaginians in 409 BC.

The excavation, led by Prof. Elena Mango of the University of Bern, was attended by an international team of 13 people, professors (Prof. J.-R. Gisler, museum), assistants (Marcella Boglione, Aleksandra Mistireki), students from the Universities of Bern and Palermo, illustrators (Roberta Sperandeo, Termini Imerese, Ulrike Koy-Seemann, University of Tubingen), a numismatist-archaeologist (Christian Weiss, University of Bern) and a photographer (Adriana Urango, University of Bern).

Excavations bring to light traces of earthquake at Himera
Credit: Parco di Himera
The archaeological investigations are the result of an agreement, duly authorized by the Regional Department of Cultural Heritage, established with the University of Bern by the Himera Park and, subsequently, by the Palermo Regional Department for Archaeological Parks and Museums. A fruitful collaboration that has given results of extraordinary interest for the understanding of the urban planning and history of the Greek colony, results that add to the important discoveries of the last decade in the western necropolis of the colony of Chalkidiki and that make Himera one of the most important archaeological realities of the entire island.

Source: Teletermini [trsl. TANN, August 01, 2019]


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