Culture ministry officials announced on Saturday that excavations in southern Italy have revealed terracotta bullheads and a figurine of the Greek god Eros riding a dolphin, shedding new light on the religious practices of an ancient city.
This is the first discovery of artifacts from a sanctuary in the ancient Greek city of Paestum, dating back to the 5th century B.C. Paestum, renowned for its three massive Doric-columned temples, is situated near the archaeological site of Pompeii but is further down the Almalfi coast.
Although the small temple was identified along the ancient city walls in 2019, excavations were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Italian Culture Ministry’s statement.
The Ministry stated that several small terracotta figurines were discovered in the first few months of resumed work, the New York Post reported.
Archaeologists discovered seven bullheads around a temple altar, arranged on the ground in a show of devotion.
According to the statement, the first collection of artifacts discovered includes a dolphin statuette that seems to be crafted by the Avili family of ceramists, whose existence had not been recorded in Paestum previously.
Although limited excavations at the temples started in the 1950s, the Ministry is confident that more valuable items could be unearthed in the region.
Around 275 B.C., the ancient Romans took over the city, which was formerly known as Magna Graecia and renamed it Paestum from the Greek “Poseidonia.”
Written by staff