- started in 573 B. C.
- took place biennially
- one of the four Panhellenic, ‘crown’ games
- so called because victors won only a crown of vegetation
- at Nemea, the crown was made of wild celery
- games were dedicated to Zeus
- the French began digging in 1884
- only sporadic excavations took place until 1973
- then the University of California at Berkeley took up the site
- under the direction of Professor Stephen G. Miller
- Miller is now retired and lives in the area of Nemea
- he has re-established the festival of the Nemean Games
The 2012 group had a chance meeting with Dr. Miller and his dog, Opheltes, in the stadium.
- a hotel for athletes and their trainers
- built in the 4th century B. C.
- about one-third of the Xenon was later covered by a Christian basilica
- built in the last third of the 3rd century B. C.
- the earliest known example of such a building in Greece
- the ancient name for such a building is not known
- contained tub rooms and changing areas
- some of the original plumbing is still visible
- shrine to the hero Opheltes
- probably contained a cenotaph (no actual burial has been found)
- mentioned by Pausanias
- discovered in 1979
- underwent two building phases
- the remains visible today (foundations of a wall) are from the Hellenistic shrine
- dated to the end of the 4th or beginning of the 3rd century B. C.
- the Archaic shrine, built over by the Hellenistic shrine, consisted of a mound of earth; a small, rectangular, stone structure; and at least two altars
- it was constructed in the early 6th century, probably at the same time the Nemean Games were instituted
- many votive ceramic drinking vessels were placed in the mound
- two statuettes of an infant, presumably Opheltes, were found in the Heroön and are now in the museum
- east of the Heroön of Opheltes traces of wheel tracks have been found
- this is the only place in the Nemea valley where a hippodrome could have been located
- remains are from the temple built ca. 330 B. C.
- which replaced a temple of the 6th century
- the earlier temple had been destroyed by fire
- at the rear of the temple is a ‘crypt,’ descending some six and one-half feet below the level of the floor
- oracles may have been given here, as happened in similar crypts in the temples at Delphi and Didyma
- but those temples are known as oracular sites, and no such attestation exists for Nemea
- made of limestone quarried from the nearby ridge between Nemea and Kleonai
- combined Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian styles
- exterior peristyle was Doric
- interior colonnade was Corinthian
- a second story, atop the interior colonnade, was Ionic
- in front of the Temple of Zeus are the foundations of an exceptionally long altarthe Altar of Zeus
- sacrifices would have been made on this altar
- constructed ca. 330 - 320 B. C.
- used for only about 60 years
- Nemean Games were moved to Argos in 271 B. C.
- an apodyterion (locker room) stood in front of the entrance to the stadium
- this building has been completely dismantled over the centuries
- an arched tunnel lined with stones runs through an intervening ridge to connect the apodyterion with the stadium
- built ca. 320 B. C. this is one of the earliest Greek arches
- various graffiti are visible on the stones, as are holes made by a shepherd for tying his animals
- the tunnel was discovered in 1978; in it were the bones and personal effects of a man who had hidden there in the late 6th century A. D.
- his bones are displayed and his grisly end described in the on-site museum
- some of the north end of the stadium has eroded away
- the length of the track was originally about 194 yards long
- stone channels line both sides of the track
- these tracks carried water both for drinking and for watering the track
- at the south end of the stadium is the balbis, or starting line, with grooves for the runners’ toes