Pellana is a tiny village located in the North of Lakonia Greece. It may not mean much to readers, but it is this tiny village that was the ancient capital of Lakonia, long before the Dorians’ and subsequently the Spartans. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on:PELLANA HELEN OF TROY PALACE TOMBS LOOTED
It was the home of King Tyndareus, Helen of Troy and her husband King Menelaus (master of the War cry) as depicted in Homers Iliad. Why is this tiny village so important to Western culture and why it must be preserved? The reason being is that this was the home of Helen of Troy when she was allegedly abducted by the Prince of Troy (Paris).
Recently tomb robbers seeking ancient artefacts and precious objects to be sold on the black market attempted to break into one of the many royal tombs located some 500 metres from the current township of modern Pellana. It appears that they had dug down at least four metres to reach the entrance to the tomb. To get into the tomb that had to excavate tons of stone fillings put into place by the Government Department of Archaeology.
The tomb located opposite other known royal tombs was sealed up for reasons known only to the Department of Antiquities. To the looters it was an open invitation to dig and steal any precocious items that may be of value to collectors.Given the current financial crisis in Greece at the moment, I am somewhat surprised that looters had not attempted it earlier.
It is of interest to note that the Archaeologist Spyropoulos who uncovered other major ruins near the rocky outcrop some 500 metres away from the royal tombs went on record, stating that it was the home of Helen of Troy and the ancient capital of Lakonia of the Hellenistic period and/or of the Mycenaeans. Spyropoulos has placed his reputation on the line by making these statements. Statements that have caught the attention of the British historian and author, Paul Cartledge known for his scholarship of the Spartans.
Modern new roads have been put into place leading to the fenced off tombs and the rocky outcrop that housed the palace. The palace itself is surrounded by the ruins of ancient homes, store houses and close to the ancient highway that led to Sparta itself. That ancient highway once dotted with small inns, towns and stopovers for the weary traveller have now all but been buried under concrete and asphalt after thoroughly been studied, photographed and recorded. These small hamlets were found every five kilometres reaching from Megalopolis down to Sparta and onto the seaport of Gytheio a seaport.
According to rumours circulated amongst the locals, the reason for the Pellana not obtaining approval for further excavation is based on rivalry with that of Modern Sparta who is concerned that it may lose its tourist trade. I am of the belief that this is not the case and that the Department of antiquities stopped the diggings for other reasons not made public at this point in time. In any case there is no infrastructure at this point in time to support tourism on a large scale and Pellana is visited occasionally by tourists on a bus using the modern freeway. This may soon change with the new highway as it is only a two hour drive from Athens, 40 minutes from Tripoli; 10 minutes from Sparta, 45 Minutes from Gytheio (sea port) and one and a half hours from Nauplio a tourist centre and first capital of Greece on gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire.
I cannot for the life of me cannot understand why such a wonderful and exciting find must be hidden from the world. A world eager to view and read further about the origins of the writings of Homer. It will be a wonderful opportunity to bring to light what has been covered for centuries. If Heinrich Schliemann can do it, then so can we. I am sure that the locals would welcome tourists eager to see the ruins of an ancient civilization that has its origins in Homer.
We shall wait and see what the Government and the Department of Antiquities decide upon and whether it will help the local and surrounding economy. I would like to think that with some good planning, external investors and with the support and assistance of local authorities, Pellana can once again became a centre of attraction without the looters taking preference. Pellana has been asleep for centuries and it is time to show case it to the world.
As a point of interest, I have for the past 40 years dedicated myself to researching the origins of the Sea Peoples and that of the history of the Pellana. Somehow I am of the opinion that the two are joined, but I don’t have the evidence to prove my point of view other than to rely on Homer. As I will be going to my place of Birth (Pellana Lakonia Greece) in April this year, I hope to conduct further research and publish whatever findings that I may discover so that the village once again becomes the focus it deserves. Therefore I hope that my research will be equal to the task of writing in English the history of Pellana. In any case it has long been on my bucket list. I will endeavour to keep readers posted. I do hope that the looters are apprehended and made an example of.
2 comments for “PELLANA HELEN OF TROY PALACE TOMBS LOOTED”