Iron Age house2
© Thorikos Archaeological Project Gent-Göttingen
Iron Age house from the 10th to 9th. Century BC BC in Thorikos ( Attica / Greece ): courtyard with adjoining rooms.
Archaeologists from the University of Göttingen discovered the earliest Iron Age house in Athens in Thorikos ( Greece ) south of Athens. This is an important finding that was unexpected and unique for early Greek history: building structures from this early period, from the 10th to the 9th Century BC, have never been excavated in Attica. The Gerda Henkel Foundation is now funding the continuation of the excavations with around 82,000 euros.

The ancient settlement is located in the area of ancient silver mining, 60 kilometers south of Athens. Here you can see Mycenaean dome tombs and a classic settlement with houses, production facilities, sanctuaries, the theater and burial sites. What is striking is the unprotected location just 20 meters above sea coast - from the sea, so there was apparently no danger at the time. Only in the course of the 8th Century BC the settlement activity shifted to the safe hill plateau, which is over 100 meters high. After geophysical investigations of the southeastern slope, the scientists found a grave from the 5th Century BC.

In 2019, a exposed corner of the wall initially indicated a classic grave building. "However, it turned out that there was no burial there before, but a building from the 10th to the 9th Century BC.", says Prof. Dr. Johannes Bergemann, director of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Göttingen. Last year, the scientists continued to research the expansion of the building, recognizing five to six rooms. In the largest room there were still numerous pebbles in the association, which indicate a cobbled courtyard. An analysis of inorganic and organic characteristics of the rock confirmed the use of around 950 to 825 BC.

Iron Age house
© Thorikos Archaeological Project Gent-Göttingen
Iron Age house from the 10th to 9th. Century BC BC in Thorikos ( Attica / Greece ): Masonry corner and door cheek. The walls consisted of layered stones in the base, above them air-dried adobe bricks.
"Available millstones for grain indicate a function as a residential building. The differentiated structure of the house speaks either for a complex society or already a developed social hierarchy ", says Bergemann. " Scientific analyzes will show whether there was animal breeding here and whether the silver ore typical of the area was mined during this time."

With the funding received, this unique find is now to be completely excavated, archaeologically and scientifically examined and analyzed. The excavations will continue together with the University of Ghent ( Belgium ) in July / August 2023 and 2024.