Researchers Believe Greek Myth Of Hades Is Based On Real-Life Ancient Underground River-Cave Community Where Corpses Were Sent

Do not go here alone after dark. Live Science writes:

A giant cave that might have helped serve as the inspiration for the mythic ancient Greek underworld Hades once housed hundreds of people, potentially making it one of the oldest and most important prehistoric villages in Europe before it collapsed about 5,000 years ago and killed everyone inside, researchers say. Cave dwellers apparently used the cavern not only as a shelter, but also as a cemetery and place of ritual.

The complex settlement seen in this cave suggests, along with other sites from about the same time, that early prehistoric Europe may have been more complex than previously thought. The cave, located in southern Greece and discovered in 1958, is called Alepotrypa.

People apparently performed burials in the cave while conducting rituals that involved burning huge amounts of dung and depositing large amounts of colored and finely painted pottery. “The burial sites and rituals that took place really do give the cave an underworld feel. It’s like Hades, complete with its own River Styx,” archaeologist Michael Galaty added, referring to the river that in Greek myth served as the boundary between the mortal realm and the netherworld.

Much remains unknown about the cave. For instance, “we don’t know how much deeper deposits go. For all we know, we might have Neanderthals down there,” Galaty said. “The next bay over, you have Neanderthal artifacts in caves, so it’s hard to believe there wouldn’t be such evidence in Alepotrypa. We just haven’t dug deep enough to know.”

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  • Borgar

    The myth of Hades is based on Hades. Caves were just transportation facilities, sort of.

  • kowalityjesus

    By my rudimentary research through a cushy book about mythology, I can tell you that Iceland, Mesopotamia, Japan, the Maya, Egypt, and Polynesia have myths involving the underworld as well. Perhaps the cave contributed, but it is a common theme.

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