Discovery: Finds in archeology park bring religion closer to antiquity

Findings in archeology park bring religion closer to antiquity

Bull heads, miniature temples and many other things have been unearthed. photo

© Paestum Velia Archeological Park/Paestum Velia Archeological Park/AP/dpa

Some decorative figures make you smile, while others provide clues to religious life in the past. What could the finds mean?

During excavations in southern Italy, archaeologists have discovered numerous terracotta figures that provide insights into religious life in the ancient city.

In addition to seven bull heads, several miniature temples and altars, representations of the Greek god of love Eros riding on a dolphin were also found in the archaeological parks of Paestum and Velia in the Italian province of Salerno. They are “small masterpieces of craftsmanship,” said a statement from the archeology park last night.

Also made for offerings

The finds were made in a small temple that archaeologists discovered in 2019 and dates from the first decades of the 5th century BC. The discoveries shed “a very interesting light on ancient religious life,” said the director general of the State Museums, Massimo Osanna.

Thus, in addition to the figures and other decorative elements, a stone slab with a kind of gutter was excavated in which – in front of the altar of the temple – liquids such as the blood of sacrificed animals could be collected during religious rites, as the director of the park, Tiziana D’ Angelo explained.

About the location

Paestum was founded by the Greeks under the name of Poseidonia around 600 BC and later fell into the hands of the Romans. The ruins, located around 100 kilometers south-east of Naples, are part of the Unesco World Heritage Site and are famous for their well-preserved temples from Greek times.

“The discovery of hundreds of votive offerings, statues and altars in the small temple of Paestum confirms the extraordinary value of this site,” said Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano.


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