The Palaestra, Olympia, Greece, 2017.10.12
The Palaestra, Olympia, Greece, 2017.10.12.
Nikon D7200, 12-24mm f/4G lens @12mm f/8, aperture priority.

"German archaeologists Alfred Mallwitz and Klaus Herrmann reject the idea of Mycenaean games associated with Pelops and argue that cult activities preceded athletics at Olympia. They note that there are earlier remains in the area but those suggesting a sanctuary (e.g. votives) are not older than the Geometric period (from about the tenth century to 750 B.C.), and that the Pelopeion, the shrine of Pelops at Olympia, is later than a stratum of black ash, animal bones, and votive figurines dated to about 700. Recent studies by Catherine Morgan, a Cambridge University archaeologist, and others suggest that the numerous metal figurines and tripods found at Olympia are dedications rather than prizes for athletic competitions. Morgan's study characterizes early Olympia (from the late tenth until the eighth century) as a rural shrine for a rustic cult of Zeus. According to Mallwitz, the oldest wells near the stadium date to the early seventh century. It would appear from the archaeological evidence that the first games, traditionally dated from 776, were humble and local, and that major athletic competitions did not emerge until ca. 700 or even 680, when the addition of equestrian contests allowed more conspicuous displays of the status and resources of competitors. Owning horses in poor and rocky Greece was a sign of great wealth, and Isocrates and Aristotle both wrote that 'the breeding of racehorses is possible only for the very rich.' Rivalries among emerging city-states contributed to increased participation and intensification of competition."

— Donald G. Kyle, "Winning at Olympia", Archaeology, April 6, 2004