Newfound Altar Predates Zeus Worship

Archaeologists uncover evidence of ancient pre-Greek diety
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2008 11:15 AM CST
GREECE, Olympia: Detail of the temple of Zeus. (c) Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos (SCF9085)   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Archaeologists in Greece have unearthed the remains of an altar that predates Zeus worship, the New York Times reports. The evidence of animal sacrifices to an unknown deity thousands of years ago turned up during excavation of a temple to Zeus in Greece's Arcadia region. “We went from BC to 'BZ'—before Zeus," quipped one archaeologist.

The sanctuary on a stark mountaintop was ancient even in the time of the ancient Greeks and dates as far back as 3000 BC, some 900 years before Greek-speaking people arrived. "You have some god being worshiped on a mountaintop, and the arriving Greeks translated the god as ‘Zeus,’ their god of the sky, lightning, weather and so on," one expert explained.