Archaeologists have discovered the remains the earliest Iron Age house in Attica at the archaeological site of Thorikos, 40 miles south of Athens. The structure first appeared as a result of excavations in 2019, during which a corner of the wall was discovered. Archaeologists at first thought it was a corner of a tomb, but wider excavations have not unearthed a burial, but rather a building, probably a dwelling, from the 10th or 9th century BC.
Over the past year, scientists have continued to study the size of the building and identified five or six rooms. There were still many pebbles in the largest room, indicating a paved courtyard. Analysis of the inorganic and organic properties of the rock confirmed its use from about 950 to 825 BC.
“Existing grain grinding stones indicate the function of a residential building. The differentiated structure of the residential building speaks either of a complex society or of an already established social hierarchy,” says (Prof. Dr. Johannes Bergemann, Director of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Göttingen). “Scientific analyzes will show whether there was livestock here and whether the silver ore characteristic of this area was mined at that time.”
Inhabited since the 4th millennium BC, Thorikos was an early mining center dating back to the Neolithic, first only for lead in the 3rd millennium BC and then for silver from 1500 BC. is physical evidence of Mycenaean mining in Thorikos dating back to the 12th century BC.
Thorikos became part of the Athenian polis along with the rest of Attica around 900 BC, so the newly discovered structure dates back to the early years of Athenian Sinoikism, the process of uniting many small polities into one powerful city-state.
Thanks to funding received from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the University of Göttingen team, in cooperation with the University of Ghent, will be able to complete the excavations within the next two years to fully reveal the building. The discoveries will then be studied and analyzed.