In 522 and 551 the ruins were devastated anew by earthquakes, the Temple of Zeus being partially buried.
rzburg and member of the German Archaeological Institute, and his team researched the southwest building, while Dr. Kyrieleis, former director of the German Archaeological Institute, and his team excavated the Prehistoric buildings of the sanctuary.Although secluded near the west coast of the Peloponnese, Olympia became the most important religious and athletic centre in Greece.Its fame rests upon the Olympic Games, the greatest national festival and a highly prestigious one world-wide, which was held every four years to honour Zeus.In 426 BC Theodosius II ordered the destruction of the sanctuary.In the mid-fifth century AD a small settlement developed over the ancient ruins and the Workshop of Pheidias was transformed into a Christian church.It is traditionally believed that in approximately 1200 BC the region of Olympia was settled by Aetolians under the leadership of Oxylos, who founded the state of Elis.
The first planned sanctuary dedicated to local and Pan-Hellenic deities was probably established towards the end of the Mycenaean period.
The earliest finds in Olympia are located on the southern foot of Mount Kronios, where the first sanctuaries and prehistoric cults were established.
A large number of pottery sherds of the Final Neolithic period (fourth millennium BC) were found on the north bank of the stadium.
The origin of the cult and of the festival went back many centuries.
Local myths concerning the famous Pelops, the first ruler of the region, and the river Alpheios, betray the close ties between the sanctuary and both the East and West.
Olympia remained forgotten under a layer of debris 5-7 metres deep.