Excavations on Mount Lykaion, a remote location overlooking the Peloponnese, and believed to be the birthplace of Zeus have revealed the skeleton of a teenager.
The body was found in the 30 metre broad ash pit next to a man-made stone platform. The ashes belong to the animals sacrificed to Zeus, mostly sheep and goats but the teenager’s skeleton may link with the believe that the location may have been used by nefarious cults. Plato and other ancient authors mention human sacrifice at the location, but until now no evidence to support these claims has been forthcoming.
Human sacrifice in Greece is something only rarely confirmed in the archaeological record making this an interesting discovery. This find also has interesting links to a Greek story about a cruel King Lykaon who doubted the power of Zeus and sacrificed his own son along with many animals cooked all the meat and offered it to Zeus to see if the god realised – he did. Angered Zeus turned Lykaon into a wolf and killed everyone else involved in the murder with lightening bolts.
Interestingly the top of the skeleton’s skull is missing and the body of the teen was orientated on an East -West axis and place between two lines of stones with a stone slab covering the pelvis.