A Neolithic town and burial site has been discovered outside the entrance to the Alepotrypa Cave – the site believed to have inspired the mythical Greek god of the underworld Hades.
Archaeologists working at the Diros Bay site in Greece recently unearthed a Neolithic couple 'spooning' – having been buried side by side in an embrace.
The find made headlines across the globe and researchers have now announced further discoveries at the site, Ksagounaki, including several other burials and the remains of an ancient village dating back over 6,200 years.
Researchers from the Field Museum said the site was once a busy town and burial complex dating to the Neolithic and Bronze Age, suggesting the bay was an importance centre in ancient times.
Outside the entrance to the Alepotrypa Cave, archaeologists found Neolithic buildings from between 4200-3800 BCE. They also found adult and infant burials, suggesting the sites were part of one huge settlement and ritual complex.
William Parkinson, from the Field Museum, said the biggest surprise was a Mycenaean-period (1600–1100 BCE) burial structure, filled with the bones of dozens of individuals Late Bronze Age painted pottery, exotic stone beads, ivory, and a Mycenaean dagger made of bronze.
Researchers have known the cave was used for domestic and ritual purposes throughout the Neolithic period, but new research has shown it was an important area during the final Neolithic period – a time when Greece was known for its wide trading networks and the introduction of copper tools, beckoning in the Bronze Age.
From the findings, experts believe the megalithic buildings constructed there during the Neolithic Age could have attracted the Mycenaeans over 2,000 years after they were abandoned.