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Greece announces discovery of ancient palace near Sparta

Researchers believe the palace was erected during the 17th or 16th century B.C., and destroyed in a fire in the late 14th or early 13th century B.C.

By Brooks Hays
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Greece announces discovery of ancient palace near Sparta
Researchers in Greece have unearthed an ancient 10-room palace. A variety of artifacts, including swords, seals, clay pots and scripted tablets, have been found nearby. Photo by Greek Culture Ministry

SPARTA, Greece, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- On Tuesday, Greece's culture ministry announced the discovery of an ancient Mycenaean palace near Sparta.

The palatial remnants were unearthed at the archaeological site known as Aghios Vassilios Hill, a sizable tract near the ancient village of Xirokambi, where Greek archaeologists have been digging since 2009.

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A variety of artifacts have been uncovered at the dig site -- clay figures, bronze swords and seals, murals, and a cup adorned by a decorative bulls head. But researchers say the latest discovery is the most valuable yet.

"The palace complex of Aghios Vassilios provides us with a unique opportunity to investigate, with the use of modern excavation and analysis methods, the creation and evolution of a Mycenaean palatial center in order to reconstruct the political, administrative, economic and social organization of the region," the nation's culture ministers announced in a released statement.

"Alongside, it is estimated that new evidence on Mycenaean religion, linguistics and paleography will also be brought to light."

Researchers believe the palace was erected during the 17th or 16th century B.C., and destroyed in a fire in the late 14th or early 13th century B.C.

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Much of the building's details were destroyed by the fire, so researchers can only guess at what it looked like. The remnants suggest the palace had 10 rooms was made of stones; worship materials and archaic inscriptions have been found on the site.

Previously, researchers at Aghios Vassilios Hill have unearthed tablets marked with a script called Linear B, the oldest written language found in Europe.

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