Once Upon A Time In Arcadia
Pausing on his grand tour of Greece, slightly winded after climbing 4500 feet to the summit of Mount Lykaion , the traditional birthplace of Zeus, the original Lonely Planet Guide, Pausanias, wrote:
“Before the altar on the east stand two pillars, on which there were once gilded eagles. On this altar they sacrifice in secret to Lykaion Zeus. I was reluctant to pry into the details of the sacrifice; let them be as they are and were from the beginning.”
Pausanias did not have carbon dating at his disposal , but ow archaeologists trenching deep into that altar's base have encountered an earlier foundation, and remains of burnt offerings made some 5,000 years ago, fully 1,500 years before the earliest mention of the god's name in Minoan linear B tablets, and a millennium before the arrival of indo-european speakers in mainland Greece. The new evidence make the nameless deity 's worship twice as old to Pausanias , as the more familiar pantheon assembled on Olympus some twenty miles away.
Image:University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology