Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The temples of ancient Greece were equipped with ramps for the disabled

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Built more than 2,000 years ago, these shrines have adapted their architecture to people with reduced mobility, according to archaeologists’ research at California State University.

The temple of Demeter in Segesta, Sicily.
The temple of Demeter in Segesta, Sicily. Alun Salt/Flickr

They invented democracy. But also the access ramps for the disabled. The Greeks will never cease to amaze us. A study carried out by a team of archaeologists suggests that many temples and shrines from ancient Greece were fitted with ramps to facilitate access for people with reduced mobility.

This work was led by Debby Sneed of California State University. According to the researcher, these ramps were common in treatment sanctuaries, frequented by visitors sometimes suffering from mobility problems. Among these, the sanctuary of Asclepius and theater of Epidaurus, in the northeast of present-day Greece, whose ramp was installed around -370. “The most likely explanation for the construction of ramps was the facilitation of access for people with reduced mobility”, explains the researcher in the online magazine Heritage Daily .

The finding of this study, published in the journal Antiquity, is the oldest evidence of ancient civilizations adapting their architecture to the needs of disabled people.

“Archaeologists knew that Greek temples were equipped with ramps, but consistently ignored this fact in their discussions of Greek architecture., she continued. Over 2,000 years ago, the ancient Greeks spent money and part of their time building ramps to help people who could not go up or down stairs, without any legislation obliges them to do so. “

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