The Olympia Hippodrome located

Rogue Classicism has a link to this in Italian, and with the aid of Babelfish I offer an English version. I had been led to believe that the Hippodrome was washed away by a change in the river’s course, but if it has been found, that’s good.

A group of researchers from the German Institute in Athens, in collaboration with the sports historian Norbert Mueller from Magonza in eastern Germany, has announced the discovery of the largest sports area in Olympia, the ancient Greek city where the Olympic Games were held.

Using geophysics, the researchers have succeeded in identifying the position and extent of the Hippodrome.

The starting system, with stables for 24 teams of horses has in all probability been found under a mound of earth in the temple quarter. Up till now the existence of the race course was known only from written sources, but there had never been archaeological confirmation. “This archaeological discovery is sensational” Mueller said.

A longer German account is ‘translated’ here. I have not tidied up the Babelfish version, particularly towards the end!

The situation of the ancient racecourse of Olympia, on which the emperor Nero drove to an Olympic victory, is solved. The discovery of the hippodrome resulted from a research co-operation under participation Mainz of the sport historian professor Dr. Norbert Mueller, Cologne sport archaeologists Dr. Christian Wacker and PD Dr. Reinhard Senff, excavation leader of the German archaeological institute (DAI) in Olympia. “The find is an archaeological Sensation”, Mueller, Sport historian at the Johannes good mountain university Mainz, commented on the discovery. The research project ran several weeks ending in the middle of May 2008.

The hippodrome was known previously only from written sources; there was no archaeological
confirmation. This is surprising, as German excavators have been working at Olympia since 1875. The site of the ancient Olympic Games as one of its most steeped in tradition enterprises continuously investigates and countless archaeologists, old and sport historians from the whole world for over 100 years with this secret concerned themselves. The ancient travel writer Pausanias in the 2nd century A.D. describes in great detail the racecourse, the starting mechanisms, turning marks and altars. A so far little considered written source from the 11th Century includes even measurements and dimensions of the facility.

It was previously assumed that no remnants of the hippodrome could be found more, since the area, to the east of the sanctuary of Olympia by the river Alpheios, described by Pausanias, was flooded since antiquity. In modern plans and descriptions one usually reads: “No remains of the hippodrome due to medieval flooding.”

That provoked the German researchers all the more: With modern geophysical methods the area was systematically searched for the first time, whereby the experts Armin Grubert (Mainz), specialist in geo-magnetic and geo-radar measurements, and Christian Hübner (Freiburg) were able to map numerous changes in the ground, as for example watercourses, ditches and walls. Remarkably, straight-line structures of nearly 200 metres’ length were actually discovered, which the researchers connect with the racecourse lying parallel to the stadium. Structural remnants, which can be equated with a shrine of Demeter by the hippodrome, had been already uncovered to the north of the examined area in the spring of 2007.

Particularly interesting is plant with approximately 10 meters of diameters on half height of of the northern entrance to the starter system -, where Pausanias entered the hippodrome -, which appear clearly in the ancient Bodenschicht and on Sakralbauten, which the ancient writer mentions here, to be perhaps referred are. The actual starter system with boxes for up to 24 horse bottom plates might be in all probability under an enormous hill of Erdaushub of the temple district, put on by the archaeologists since 1875.

With the study of the area east sanctify around of Olympia, possible made by research means of the institute for sport science of the University of Mainz and the international rider federation, concrete referring to the situation of the racecourse and its geographical expansion could be won for the first time. Ten studying were thereby with the sport historian specialized in Olympia professor Norbert Mueller in the use. ” The DAI with its branch office in Athens erwiesen” by its co-operation of sport history a large service; , Mueller said. ” The project would know similarly the excavation of the ancient stadium of Olympia before 50 years a new attraction for the sport world werden.”

Another blog from a dig – Whitehall Farm

I’ve mentioned the Caerleon dig and its blog, but a long-running dig at Whitehall Farm has its own blog, reporting on the 2008 20-day project.

It also has a nice website.

BBC video of the lance discovered at Caerleon

BBC video of the lance discovered at Caerleon