After reviewing the findings of pottery experts, geologists and other archaeologists, David Gilman Romano of the University of Pennsylvania concluded that material at the Lykaion altar “suggests that the tradition of devotion to some divinity on that spot is very ancient” and “very likely predates the introduction of Zeus in the Greek world.”
As Dr. Romano remarked, quoting a quip by a friend, “We went from B.C. to B.Z., before Zeus.”
Even though the article is somewhat irritating:
“We certainly know that Zeus and a female version of Zeus were worshiped in prehistoric times,” Dr. Davis continued in an e-mail message. “The trick will be in defining the precise nature of the site itself before historical times.”
Ken Dowden, director of the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham, in England, who was not involved in the research, said that it was not surprising to find the migrating Greeks adapting a sanctuary dedicated to gods of an earlier religion for the worship of their own gods. “Even Christians would on occasion reuse a pagan sanctuary in order to transfer allegiance from the preceding religion to Christianity,” he noted.
"Zeus and a female version of Zeus"? What does this even mean?
And I would call the description of Christians co-opting earlier sacred sites excessively tactful.
Still, this is cool stuff, and I hope they find out more about the earlier deities in the area.
Link from Half Sigma.
Here's where you can make permanent links to New York Times articles.