Homer’s Ithaca possibly found

This video is called BBC Gods and MonstersHomer’s Odyssey (2010).

From World Science:

Homer’s Ithaca possibly found

Jan. 10, 2007

Special to World Science

Brit­ish re­search­ers say they may have solved a cen­turies-old mys­ter­y: the lo­ca­tion of Ith­a­ca, home­land of the he­ro of Home­r’s The Od­ys­sey.

The ep­ic po­em de­scribes Ith­a­ca as the birth­place of King Ulys­ses, who wan­dered dec­ades at sea be­fore a long-awaited home­com­ing to his queen, Pe­nel­o­pe.

A modern island of Ithaca ex­ists, and for cen­turies clas­si­cists have thought it was the one in the sto­ry.

But there was al­ways a glitch: Hom­er as­serts that the is­land was the west­ern­most of the Io­ni­an ar­chi­pel­a­go.

But the west­ern­most is­land is real­ly Ke­falo­nia, which is al­so much big­ger than the place Hom­er de­scribed.

The re­search team in­clud­ed busi­nes­man and am­a­teur ar­chae­o­lo­gist Rob­ert Bit­tle­stone, heir to a tra­di­tion be­gun by an­oth­er busi­ness­man, the fa­mous Hein­rich Schlie­man­n—dis­co­v­er­er of the ho­mer­ic city of Troy, in 1870.

With Bit­tle­stone worked clas­si­cist James Dig­gle of Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty and geolo­gist John Un­der­hill of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh.

They found that Ith­a­ca is in­deed to­day’s Ke­falo­nia; but on­ly the west­ern­most part of it, which is now a pen­in­su­la.

Three mil­len­nia ago, in Home­r’s Bronze Age, this pen­in­su­la was an is­land, they said. Land­slides and rock­falls from earth­quakes later filled in the gap be­tween the two is­lands.

Ge­o­log­ic tests an­nounced this week by the team have con­firmed this the­o­ry, in­i­tial­ly based on ge­o­graph­ic con­sid­er­a­tions on­ly, the re­search­ers added.

The group said they con­ducted ex­ten­sive ge­o­log­i­cal and geo­phys­i­cal stud­ies on the south­ern end of the strip of land be­tween the pen­in­su­la and the rest of Ke­falo­nia.

There, they drilled a 122-meter (133-yard) bore­hole. The drill nev­er hit bed­rock but in­stead plunged through loose sed­i­ments, rock­fall and land­slide ma­te­ri­al, reach­ing well be­low sea lev­el, they said.

The ab­sence of bed­rock and pres­ence of very young ma­rine fos­sils in the sed­i­ments show that this added earth could have filled in the an­cient sea chan­nel to cre­ate an isth­mus, or land bridge, be­tween the once sep­a­rate is­lands, the re­search­ers claimed.

“Although this is on­ly a first step in test­ing wheth­er or not this whole isth­mus was once un­der the sea, it is a very en­cour­ag­ing con­fir­ma­tion of our ge­o­log­i­cal di­ag­no­sis,” Un­der­hill said.

See also here.

There are many theories where Ithaca, the island of Ulysses (Odyseus in Greek) really was.

Including cranky ones saying it was in The Netherlands or something.

We will have to wait and see whether further research confirms this newest hypothesis.

Maronia Cave, home of the mythological Cyclops Polyphemus: here.

Bronze age in Spain: here.

6 thoughts on “Homer’s Ithaca possibly found

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