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Archaeologists discover Greek kitchen from sixth century BC at Empúries

Excavations reveal the cliff where the city was located and the rocky spur that protected the first port 

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07 December 2021 05:49 PM

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ACN | L'Escala

Archaeologists have discovered a Greek kitchen for the first time at the Empúries archaeological site, located in the Alt Empordà region on Catalonia's Costa Brava.

A structure containing an oven and stove made out of clay has been found in the ancient city's old port district.

It dates from the sixth century BC, close to when the Greek city was founded, and is thought to be related to a shrine in the area, possibly dedicated to the goddess Demeter, due to its similarity to a kitchen discovered in Greece that was part of a place of worship.

The 2021 excavation campaign in Empúries has also unveiled the cliff where the Neapolis (New City) was established. Archaeologists discovered a large rocky outcrop that protected the small natural cove where the first Greek port was situated.

Empúries, one of the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia's (MAC) five venues is described as "the most important Greek and Roman archaeological site in Catalonia."

More than a century after excavation first began, the site continues to provide surprises. This year's discovery of a Greek kitchen has been a unique find. Not only because it is a first for Empúries, but also because there are very few other similar discoveries throughout the Mediterranean.

Fish bones and cockle shells

In the sixth century BC, when the Greeks built the Neapolis at Empúries, the morphology of the area was very different from today. The River Ter formed a large estuary and the sea almost reached to where the museum building now stands.

The twin goals for archeologists in 2021 were to unveil the ancient cliff where the city was built and to discover more about what the port district was like.

Before now, in the ruins of houses in Empúries, vestiges of hearths had been discovered, placed in the center of the room and used for both heating and cooking. The latest discovery is different.

"We are talking about a kitchen with specific structure, which we had never found before," says Marta Santos, head of the MAC-Empúries.

Apart from the structure, what also makes it special is also the huge amount of culinary remains that archaeologists have found.

Among the earth, where pieces of Greek pottery have also appeared, Marta Santos says that "thousands of cockle shells," fish remains (spines and scales) and fragments of bones have been uncovered. Archaeologists have collected samples that have been sent to specialized laboratories to try to find out what food was being eaten over 2,500 years ago on the Catalan coast.

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  • Archaeologists excavate a fireplace, with the structure of a Greek kitchen from the 6th century BC behind, Empúries (MAC-Empúries)

  • Archaeologists excavate a fireplace, with the structure of a Greek kitchen from the 6th century BC behind, Empúries (MAC-Empúries)

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