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Quiz of the year: roof tiles in a cave

This quiz has no answer – at least none known to me.

As an archaeologist, I specialize in surface surveys. Field work for me is walking under the sky, looking for pottery on the ground. ON the ground, not UNDER it. Crawling in dark, wet spaces, infested with multi-legged creatures is not my idea of fun.

But when invited by a colleague to have a look at some roof tiles found in the depths of a cave near Athens, I was intrigued. Roof tiles in a cave?

So there I went and we both crawled in the dank darkness to a place deep down in the cave, where roof tile fragments of various eras had been deposited by people without the help of modern flashlights or speleology gear.

Who did that? Why? The shards are from different eras, so how did this arcane practice last so long? And most importantly, whatever on earth possessed them to do it in the first place?

My colleague, showing me the way;  the tiles were carried deep into the cave through this long and narrow crawlspace.

My colleague, showing me the way;  the tiles were carried deep into the cave through this long and narrow crawlspace.

So I’ve been studying these tiles on and off for a year now (okay, more off than on), I know their styles and when they were made, but I still cannot explain why they got there.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that my ancestors chose this bizarre practice just to play a practical joke on me. However, since this theory would never be accepted in a peer-reviewed journal, I’m looking for a better one.

Any ideas? Anyone?

We may have gotten out into the light, but as for answers to our questions, we're still in the dark.

We may have gotten out into the light, but as for answers to our questions, we’re still in the dark.

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