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Fire Fighters Battle With Wildfire At Ancient Mycenae In Greece

Fire Fighters Battle With Wildfire At Ancient Mycenae In Greece


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A wildfire at Mycenae has caused a major archaeological panic in Greece. Greek fire fighters equipped with nine fire engines, two planes and a helicopter struggled to save the ancient citadel of Mycenae from the destructive flames of an out-of-control wildfire. The Bronze Age stronghold of Mycenae in ancient Greece was the center of the Mycenaean civilization from approximately 1600-1100 BC. According to a press release by Agence France-Presse , the wildfire at Mycenae started in the afternoon of August 30, near the tomb of Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae who was killed by his wife following the Trojan war .

The Extent And Danger Of The 2020 Wildfire At Mycenae

While wildfires in California are currently demanding round-the-clock attention from 16,000 firefighters, the wildfire at Mycenae is being tackled by “nine fire engines, two planes and one helicopter.” And according to local media sources, the fire required the evacuation of almost a hundred tourists and visitors to this world-famous site in south-eastern Greece.

Wildfire passes through Mycenae archaeological site (picts) https://t.co/8GjNlI8xZc

— Keep Talking Greece (@keeptalkingGR) August 30, 2020

The wind direction in Greece is currently acting as both a curse and a blessing. The destruction of the site is a possibility, but not likely. A recent news update on Aljazeera states that the local fire department maintains there is currently no danger to the Mycenae museum, which houses an exceptional collection of artifacts from this ancient Greek civilization.

It seems that mainstream Greek media is relatively calm about the situation, with ekathimerini reporting that the Ministry of Culture states first inspections indicate there has been little damage to antiquities. However, this reporting has ignited a backlash from some on Twitter, posting images of the seemingly well-scorched site.

The fire that broke out at the Mycenae archaeological side has not caused any damage to antiquities *at first inspection* the Ministry of Culture says.

Shame on you @ekathimerini https://t.co/FMGsxcfokh

— Κορονοϊός της Μήτσαινας (@gdmn1949) August 30, 2020

Hopefully the reports of minimal damage will be proven true on further inspections. The Mycenaean civilization was relatively sophisticated and many of its more substantial buildings, such as this, were built with fire-resistance in mind. But the effect of such an event 1000s of years after it was built should perhaps not be underestimated.

How A Major Ancient Fire Saved One Precious Treasure

In the second millennium BC, the Mycenaean Greeks were dominated by a hierarchical warrior elite society who maintained a complex network of palace-centered states. Together, these states enforced rigid political, social, and economic control over the common people. The top of Mycenaean society was the king or wanax. The architecture of Mycenae was determined by the demands of its society's warring-culture. Its towering, thick-stone walls were designed and built specifically for protection, including the risks of fire attacks.

The master architects and expert military and marine engineers of Mycenae traded all over the Mediterranean. Their syllabic script, known to archaeologists as “ Linear B ,” was the first written form of the Indo-European Greek language. Believe it or not, Linear B was first discovered in archives that had been preserved by the heat of a fire that destroyed a 17th-century BC palace in the late 14th or early 13th century BC.

A 2002 Greek stamp dedicated to the Linear B ancient script. (Lefteris Papaulakis / Adobe Stock )

A 2015 Ancient Origins article describes the remarkable discovery of an ancient 10-room palace at the Aghios Vassilios Hill archaeological site. Archaeologists found a massive hoard of ancient artifacts in this palace, including bronze swords, seals, and clay pots. But the biggest find of all was the scripted tablets bearing “the oldest written language found in Europe.”

Fire Was At The Center Of Ancient Mycenaean Architecture

Greek fire-fighters struggle with wildfires every year as the intense summer temperatures dry the land and forested areas creating perfect wildfire conditions. However, in ancient Mycenaean times fortified citadels were constructed to resist the threat of fire. And “controlled fires” were started to manage the overall spread of seasonal fires. Most of the excavated Mycenaean houses, all over Greece, have central fireplaces for cooking and heating. Archaeological evidence suggests they were also important for ritual activities.

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According to Barbara Tsakirgis’ 2007 archaeology paper Fire and smoke: hearths, braziers and chimneys in the Greek house, published by the British School in Athens, the ancient Greeks built hearths and located them in individual homes based on specific local environmental factors. Every home was different as was the location of its fireplace. Research suggests each Greek family created their own personal fireplace and this tradition lasted throughout the classical period and beyond. Later, immovable hearths were replaced with portable terracotta braziers.


Ancient Mycenae: Wildfire blackens gate of ancient fortified city (image & video)

Monuments at the archaeological site of Mycenae have not been damaged by a wildfire that swept through the area, despite blackening the entrance to the ancient citadel, Greece's culture minister said Monday.

Four water-dropping planes and two helicopters helped dozens of firefighters contain the blaze Sunday after it reached one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Athens.

The Bronze Age fortified city flourished centuries before the major Acropolis monuments were built in Athens and was a major center of Mediterranean civilization.

Smoke from the flames blackened the 3,250-year-old stone-built Lion Gate, the entrance to the ancient city.

“The damage caused by yesterday’s fire was the least possible,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said during a visit to the site Monday, adding that none of the site's main monuments or the Mycenae museum had suffered any damage.

“The Fire Service acted swiftly . and prevention measures worked: Dry vegetation had all been cleared away," Mendoni said. "That’s what saved the monuments.”

A spokesman for Greece's main political opposition, the left-wing Syriza party, questioned the speed of the response by the Fire Service, noting that the fire had entered the site.

The party said it was carrying out a separate inspection Monday, and called on the minister to issue a public apology for downplaying the damage.

Mycenae has been closed to visitors but the Culture Ministry said it will be reopened Tuesday.


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Greece: Wildfire stopped at gate of ancient fortress city

Greece’s culture minister says the archaeological site of Mycenae has not been damaged by a wildfire that swept through the area, despite blackening the entrance to the ancient citadel.

Four water-dropping planes and two helicopters helped dozens of firefighters contain the blaze Sunday at the edge of one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Athens.

The Bronze Age fortress city flourished centuries before the major Acropolis monuments were built in Athens and was a major center of Mediterranean civilization.

Flames blackened the 3,250-year-old stone-built Lion Gate, the entrance to the ancient city.

“The damage caused by yesterday’s fire was the least possible,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said during a visit to the site Monday.

“The Fire Service acted swiftly . and prevention measures worked: dry vegetation had all been cleared away. That’s what saved the monuments.”

Mycenae has been closed to visitors but Mendoni said it will be reopened soon.

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Cyprus helps Greece battle with wildfires

The Justice Minister of Cyprus Ionas Nikolaou announced that Cyprus will be sending a firefighting force to assist with the efforts against the wildfires currently raging across the country.

Nikolaou confirmed on Tuesday he spoke on the phone with Greek Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas to organise the transfer of the firefighting force.

According to the minister, Cyprus is going to send six fire engines and 60 firemen to assist Greece’s battle against wildfires.

Meanwhile, Greece’s political class has praised the efforts of firefighters and citizens involved in subduing the fires.

“The Greeks honour today the great feast of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, that always protects the Greek people’s struggles and hopes for the nation’s prosperity and freedom,” stated President of Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Tuesday from the city of Thebes, where he attended the celebrations for the Dormition of Virgin Mary.

He gave his wishes to all Greeks and particularly to those that are giving a huge battle to protect the environment and the people. “We are grateful,” he said referring to the firemen and the volunteers.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a special reference to the men and women that are currently battling the fire all over the country and expressed his gratitude on behalf of all Greeks.


Smoke from wildfire blackens prehistoric Greek city walls

A plane drops water during a wildfire in the ancient site of Mycenae, Greece, some 140 kilometers (90 miles) south of Athens, on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. The fire that broke out at the Mycenae, one of the most popular archaeological sites in Greece, has not caused any damage to antiquities at first inspection, according the Culture Ministry. (Vangelis Bougiotis/InTime News via AP)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Monuments at the archaeological site of Mycenae have not been damaged by a wildfire that swept through the area, despite blackening from smoke on the iconic entrance to the ancient citadel, Greece’s culture minister said Monday.

Four water-dropping planes and two helicopters helped dozens of firefighters contain the blaze Sunday after it reached the fringes of one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, some 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Athens.

The Bronze Age fortified city, whose rulers were key figures in ancient Greek legend, including the Trojan War, flourished centuries before the major Acropolis temples were built in Athens and was a major center of Mediterranean civilization.

Smoke from the flames blackened the 3,250-year-old Lion Gate, named after the monumental relief sculpture of two heraldic lions flanking a pillar that crowns the entrance to the ancient citadel.

“The damage caused by yesterday’s fire was the least possible,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said during a visit to the site Monday, adding that none of the site’s monuments or the Mycenae museum had suffered any damage. Photos released by the ministry Monday showed no traces of burning inside the site.

“Smoke blackened some walls,” Mendoni added. “The problem is (only) aesthetic.”

“The Fire Service acted swiftly … and prevention measures worked: Dry vegetation had all been cleared away,” Mendoni said. “That’s what saved the monuments,.”

A spokesman for Greece’s main political opposition, the left-wing Syriza party, questioned the speed of the response by the Fire Service, noting that the fire had entered the site.

The party said it was carrying out a separate inspection Monday, and called on the minister to issue a public apology for downplaying the damage.

Mycenae has been closed to visitors but the Culture Ministry said it will be reopened Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Fire rages near Greek archaeological site of Mycenae

A firefighter works to put out a wildfire near the archaeological site of Mycenae in the northeastern Peloponnese, on August 30, 2020. - A wildfire broke out near the ruins of the Bronze Age stronghold of Mycenae in Greece on August 30, prompting the evacuation of visitors to the archeological site. Eurokinissi / AFP

The flames licked the ruins but the fire department insisted there was no danger to the site's museum.

The fire went through "a section of the archaeological site and burnt some dry grass without menacing the museum", the commander of the southern Peloponnese region's fire brigade, Thanassis Koliviras told Athens News Agency.

Firefighting efforts were being supported by four planes and two helicopters.

The Ministry of Culture issued a statement on Sunday saying that according to a first inspection, "the fire hasn't caused damage to the antiquities" adding that "a team of experts will assess the consequences" later.

Greece annually grapples with wildfires during the dry summer season, with strong winds and temperatures frequently exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Thirteen years ago, fire threatened the temples and stadiums of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.

Firefighters were able to save the site on the Peloponnese and no serious damage occurred.


Greece: Wildfire stopped at gate of ancient fortress city

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Monuments at Greece's archaeological site of Mycenae have not been damaged by a wildfire that swept through the area, despite the blackening from smoke on the iconic entrance to the ancient citadel, Greece's culture minister said Monday.

Four water-dropping planes and two helicopters helped dozens of firefighters contain the blaze Sunday after it reached the fringes of one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Athens.

The Bronze Age fortified city, whose rulers were key figures in ancient Greek legend, including the Trojan War, flourished centuries before the major Acropolis temples were built in Athens and was a major center of Mediterranean civilization.

Smoke from the flames blackened the 3,250-year-old Lion Gate, named after the monumental relief sculpture of two heraldic lions flanking a pillar that crowns the entrance to the ancient citadel.

“The damage caused by yesterday’s fire was the least possible,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said during a visit to the site Monday, adding that none of the site's monuments or the Mycenae museum had suffered any damage.

Photos released by the ministry Monday showed no traces of burning inside the site.

“Smoke blackened some walls,” Mendoni added. “The problem is (only) aesthetic.”

“The Fire Service acted swiftly . and prevention measures worked: Dry vegetation had all been cleared away," Mendoni said. “That’s what saved the monuments,.”

A spokesman for Greece's main political opposition, the left-wing Syriza party, questioned the speed of the response by the Fire Service, noting that the fire had entered the site. The party said it was carrying out a separate inspection Monday and called on the minister to apologize for downplaying the damage.

Mycenae has been closed to visitors but the Culture Ministry said it will reopen Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


4. Peshtigo, Wisconsin 1871

While many people have heard of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, few people are aware that a second fire was taking place at the same time just a few hundred miles away in upstate Wisconsin, and that this fire would be responsible for more deaths by fire than any other in U.S. history. How many would die in a fire that was to scorch an area more than twice the size of the state of Rhode Island and lay waste to twelve communities will probably never be known exactly, largely due to the remoteness of the area and the largely rural population, but some estimates put the number as high as 2,500. Hardest hit was the little town of Peshtigo, most of whose population of 1,700 died in the flames—with many of their bodies never recovered. (Many of the survivors escaped the flames by immersing themselves in the Peshtigo River, wells, or other nearby bodies of water, though even then many drowned or succumbed to hypothermia in the frigid waters.) How bad was it? Surviving witnesses reported that the firestorm generated a tornado that threw rail cars hundreds of feet and flung entire houses into the air. Makes Mrs. O’Leary’s cow look tame by comparison.



Comments:

  1. Peredurus

    I forgot to remind you.

  2. Fenrijind

    does not agree with the previous phrase at all

  3. Kigall

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  4. Vilkree

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  5. Dahy

    I have long wanted to ask you, the author, where do you live? In the sense of a city? If not serket :)



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