The Spartans are by far the most famous Greek civilization in the modern culture, but the mighty warriors were immortalized well before the film “300” hit the radar. They were commemorated in Homer’s Iliad, and Sparta was known for ruling Greece for centuries. But one day they mysteriously disappeared; around 1200 BC the civilization vanished. But recently, archaeologists have confirmed there is hope that a team has discovered ruins of an ancient palace that might have been a part of the Spartan metropolis. The mighty palace, containing about ten rooms, was unearthed near Xirokambi Lakonia village. This same little settlement is known to have been located right on the border of ancient Sparta. The palace held ancient inscriptions that were written between the 17th and 16th century BC.
Along with the ruins, a team of excavators found a wide variety of Spartan-like objects at the site, artifacts which include mythological symbols, mini clay statues figures, and a cup shaped like a bull’s fearsome head. There were also swords made of bronze as well as the remains of a few paintings. The team of archaeologists was absolutely shocked that the artifacts stayed so well preserved.
The excavations of the area started in 2009, when two slabs that had been written on were discovered. These slabs had detailed accounts of religious celebrations and even names, cities, and counties. Archaeologists called it Linear B, the oldest script ever to be observed across all of Europe. It is also the first known documentation of the ancient Greek language.
This discovery is monumental for historians. While experts knew that Sparta was a significant part of ancient Greek culture, no one had ever found an actual palace dating around the time that the Spartans ruled the area. These simple slabs were by far the most important find because there is little literature from the era. The scriptures were uncovered inside of the west wing of the ancient ruins and were set throughout what was once a beautiful courtyard. Literature was written in soft clay in order to take notes, like a modern day schoolbook. Luckily for the archaeologists, the fire that sealed the palace’s demise hardened the clay so that it could be uncovered in the future.
It’s been speculated that the discovered slabs were a part of the palace’s archive before it was burned down. This is backed by the fact that political bureaucracy was kept on the politicians’ raw clay, making it much easier to analyze as the decoding of the slabs revealed a highly complex government and civilization.
For half a millennium, the great Spartans ruled their lands before they disappeared, simultaneously plunging with Greece into a darker era. Researchers recently proposed that drought and famine was a major factor. The rival theory is that the disappearance was due to a massive earthquake that diminished the entire civilization.
The new unearthing of the palace is vital because of the fact that Sparta had a major influence during the Mycenaen period. This was the first palace ever to be found, holding the keys to understanding more about Sparta’s civilization and the way of life on the Spartan Plain. The new excavation could reveal what has been known as the Lost Spartan Palace. It would be celebrated worldwide if the archaeologists discovered the throne room in which all ancient Greeks held their receptions.
“The new site could be that lost Spartan Palace,” said Hal Haskell of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.