A former Roman Catholic priest has uncovered what is believed to be the oldest known forest fire in the entire Greek nation, with fires dating back to a time in the third century BC. Donato Pons, a retired priest with the 5th Atascadura monastery, discovered the nearly 2,500-year-old ruins while searching the site for artifacts. He first assumed that he had just found the remains of a Roman tomb — until archaeologists told him he had his hands on a 4,000-year-old fire.
Using modern tools to study the smoking remnants, Pons’ team concluded that the flames likely broke out from inside a wooded settlement, where it quickly spread, spreading through a cellar, and later to the surrounding trees, gradually burning all the way up to the top of the trees.
Pons, however, says he has no idea as to how the fire actually caused it. Although the monks of his monastery erected a post-its spelling out the word sacred to protect the fire — the first recorded sign of it — he doesn’t believe anyone was actually burned in the original fire. “We have no idea how the fire began or ended,” he said.
Image: Melious Poto Yannabou