Exterior walls of the Pyramid of Hellinikon near Kefalari Peloponnese Greece — Depositphotos.

10 Facts About the Ancient Greek Pyramid of Hellinikon

Located west of Athens lay the remnants of one of the most famous ancient Pyramids built by the ancient Greek civilization. It is beleived that there were up to 16 pyramidal like structures in ancient Greece at one point.

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Hellinikon – Introductory Approach

One of the most critical factors that one has to consider when completing an in-depth analysis of the ancient world is the interconnection between the different cultures. Hellinikon is one of the prime examples to use when completing an in-depth analysis of the relationship between ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean.

Therefore, for a more analytical, well-rounded, and informative understanding, when one is studying the history and the culture of a specific civilization, for instance, the Egyptians will have to take into account other cultural and historical aspects that the Egyptians provided to the rest of the ancient world.

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Today, we are studying the Greek Pyramid of Hellinikon, and even though there has been an extensive analysis through different Curiosmos articles and blog posts regarding Egyptian architecture and the history of the culture, this one is a little bit different.

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It has no similarities with the rest of the Egyptian articles because even though it’s based on the Hellinikon, a greek pyramid of ancient times and one of the only architectural monuments preserved in the land and adopted by the Egyptians.

History of Hellinikon

1. Primary Excavation of Hellinikon

Firstly, the Pyramid of Hellinikon was found for the first time in the modern era by Weigand, and he was the first that, after removing the fill between the marbles, tried to study the origin of the monument extensively. The American School of Archaeology at Athens, secondly, continued the study around 1937.

2. General Characteristics

Although surrounded by a rectangle area, the outer slopes of the Pyramid have the dimensions of 7.03 to 9.07. The external walls that protect the Pyramid have a rising gradient of 60 degrees and achieve a height of 3.50 meters.

3. Location of the Monument

The Pyramid of Hellinikon and the smaller monuments surrounding it are located in the southwestern area of the Argolid plain. Seeing through the areas and the regions of antiquity, the place was close to Tegea, Kefalari, Arcadia, and Kynouria. Today, we find it close to the springs of the river of Erasinos.

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Rear view of the Pyramid of Hellinikon near Kefalari Peloponnese Greece — Depositphotos.
Rear view of the Pyramid of Hellinikon near Kefalari Peloponnese Greece — Depositphotos.

Hellinikon – Function, and Design

4. Casual Rooms

Even though at the end of the analysis, one can look at the different early interpretations, some research and excavations found that some designs had corridors, doors, rooms, and other walls, just like a usual house. Therefore, with the main entrance situated on the eastern side, a narrow passage leads to a smaller door attached to a square room of 7 meters long sides.

5. Deviation from Egyptian Culture

One of the most interesting fundamental building aspects of the Hellinikon is the impressive and somewhat mysterious construction behind it. More specifically, the entire building is based on grey limestone, something rare when it was built. Additionally, it deviates from the Egyptian model since it combines a trapezoidal and partially polygonal system built by large blocks.

6. Lack of Historical Resources

The point that for me has to come first and has to be stated before the specific analysis of the actual monument is that we don’t find many resources. Primarily, we find fewer resources than the number, which would provide enough for our analysis for Hellinikon. The actual work of the pyramids on Greek soil wasn’t embraced by the Greek poets. Consequently, historians couldn’t provide us with a factual analysis of the buildings’ aspects.

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7. The function of Hellinikon

Additionally, the aforementioned lack of essential resources makes it challenging to understand the reasoning behind the design of the building. Archaeologists believe that it consisted of a memorial observation. Other statements depict communication between other towards of the neighboring regions. Nonetheless, Pausanias provides a general interpretation, analyzed in the next point.

Side view of the Pyramid of Hellinikon near Kefalari Peloponnese Greece — Depositphotos.
Side view of the Pyramid of Hellinikon near Kefalari Peloponnese Greece — Depositphotos.

Hellinikon – Historical Interpretations

8. Pausanias’ Interpretations

Most importantly, people weren’t keen on presenting this building apart from Pausanias, who during the 2nd century AD is providing a story behind the pyramids of Hellinikon. Hence, it was used as a tomb for Argives killed in the battle around 669/668 BC. More specifically, the war was between the two sides of Proetus and Acrisius that fought to win the throne of Argos.

9. Actual Number of Hellinikon Monuments

Furthermore, we have to dive into deeper detail about the origin and the date of the excavation of the Hellinikon Pyramid. Nonetheless, prior to that, one must state that the pyramids seem to be two in modern-day studies. Regardless, the people honor the Pyramid as the Egyptian monumental structure on Greek soil and historians analyze it entirely as one.

10. First Early Interpretations

The point above leads us to an early interpretation of the excavation. The director of the study by the Archaeological School of Athens named L. Lord made the assumption. Hellinikon and the material found there were “guard houses capable of accommodating a small garrison. It could control the countryside and be safe behind their walls from surprise attacks by a few persons.”. In conclusion, contemporary research shows designs that had corridors, doors, rooms, and usual walls.

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References

• Theocaris, Liritzis, Lagios, and Sampson (1997). Geophysical prospection and archaeological test. Excavation and dating in two Hellenic pyramids (Hellinikon). Surveys in Geophysics, 17, 593-618
• Louis E. Lord, Watchtowers and Fortresses in Argolis (Hellinikon). American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 43, No. 1 (January – March 1939), pp. 78-89
Liritzis I. 1998. Bronze Age Greek Pyramids and Orion’s belt. Griffith Observer, vol.63, n.10, 10-21


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Written by Ioannis Dedes

Hi, I'm Ioannis Dedes, an experienced Freelance Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the online media industry. After working in the Freelance writing world for a while, I can say that I have produced great articles for the niches of history, philosophy, and politics. Curiosmos was the best platform to apply what I have learned after two years of creative writing experience, and I am more than ecstatic to share my thoughts with the special readers of the blog and people that are interested in finding out the roots of human civilization and the evolution of our world.

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