Dating olympia

Located in the north part of the Altis, Olympia’s sacred precinct, the Heraion is probably the site’s first monumental stone building.

Dörpfeld dug trenches under the temple and found two structures he interpreted as predecessors.

Sapirstein realized that these tiles, which are relatively abundant, were an underutilized source of information, especially when examined using 3-D imagery.

“I started working with 3-D modeling software early on because you often have to reconstruct the roofing system from very tiny fragments,” explains Sapirstein.

It’s a huge investment.” Sapirstein wanted to find an alternative method—and for this he returned to one of the temples that started it all. traveler Pausanias describes legendary events that, along with actual stylistic attributes of the Heraion, led Wilhelm Dörpfeld—a German archaeologist working in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the scholar most closely associated with the structure—to date the original building to 1096 B. However, while there is evidence of ritual activity at Olympia dating back to the eleventh century B.

The temple of Hera at Olympia, or the Heraion, dates to around 600 B. and is one of the oldest surviving Greek stone Doric temples. C., there were no permanent large structures at this early date.

And even when the Olympics first took place, probably well after the traditional date of 776 B.

C., there were likely no sizeable buildings at the site.

It worked great.” But Sapirstein knew the technology was impractical, if not impossible, for most archaeologists to use.Further complicating the effort to identify these early buildings, the stone was often reused, obscuring its original context.What does frequently survive, however, are the temples’ ceramic roof tiles.But scholars today no longer believe there were in fact any previous buildings on this spot, and that what Dörpfeld had actually uncovered was the Heraion’s foundation.“The Heraion is actually very well preserved,” says Sapirstein, “and doesn’t appear to have been significantly altered or renovated after its construction, despite its thousand-year history of use.

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