Ritual Deposits at Sardis
These deposits were buried under an ancient floor in Sardis nearly 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists who found them in 2013 suspect the artifacts may have been part of a ritual to ward off disaster.
Sardis is located in modern-day western Turkey. In the year 17 A.D., it was rocked by a devastating earthquake.
During the summer of 2013, archaeologists excavated a room that was built after the quake.
Ritual Deposit Discovery
When the team dug through the floor, they found the first traces of a ritual deposit.
Walking on Eggshells
Inside the buried bowls, the archaeologists found an eggshell, several bronze tools and a coin.
The coin depicted Zeus Lydios, the father god of the region.
Deposit No. 2
Another deposit was found under the floor, though this one was quite crushed.
Same Strange Collection
This vessel also contained bronze tools and pieces of an eggshell, and a coin was found next to the deposit.
The graffiti lion incised on this coin is likely a symbol of the goddess Cybele, often associated with mountains.
The strange deposits were placed right on top of a home that was destroyed during the 17 A.D. earthquake. The archaeologists think these objects may have been buried to prevent future disasters. Eggs and bronze tools also have a long history of association with curses and protection against evil forces.
There seems to be a long tradition of ritual burials at Sardis. In the 1960s, for example, archaeologists found 30 of these "ritual dinners" or "puppy burials" at Sardis, which date back nearly 500 years before the eggshell offerings were buried.