The find may confirm the dark legend that ancient Greeks had practiced human sacrifice.
A 3000-year old skeleton has been discovered in the site at the top of Mount Lykaion in southern Greece and researchers theorize that it could be the remains of human sacrifice to Zeus, the god of sky and thunder in ancient Greek religion.
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The find could also confirm a popular myth that religious offerings and sacrifices in ancient Greece were not just limited to animals. Greeks also sacrificed humans to the deities of ancient religion and those sacrifices took place within the sanctuary usually in an altar there.
“Several ancient literary sources mention rumors that human sacrifice took place at the altar, but up until a few weeks ago there has been no trace whatsoever of human bones discovered at the site,” said excavation leader David Gilman Romano, professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona. “Whether it’s a sacrifice or not, this is a sacrificial altar … so it’s not a place where you would bury an individual. It’s not a cemetery.”
The skeleton appears to be that of a male teenager, curled up inside the place of the sacrifice. The body was lying between the two lines of the stones. The skull of the body was missing while his pelvis was being covered with stone slabs. Analysis suggests that the bones were more than 3,000 years old.
Ancient Greeks worshipped many gods with each having a distinct power and domain. The main ritual act in ancient Greek religious practice was animal sacrifice such as goats, oxen and sheep and archeologists have also unearthed many of those alongside pottery and coins over the years. But this is the most conclusive evidence of human sacrifice in ancient Greece.
Archeologists continue digging the rest of the site and are hoping to collect more evidences since they have a number of excavation years to go. The digging operation is scheduled to go through at least 2020.