Archaeologists in Italy unearth ancient dolphin statuette

ROME (AP) – Excavations in southern Italy have unearthed terracotta bull heads and a figure of the Greek god Eros riding a dolphin, shedding new light on the religious life and rituals of an ancient city, culture ministry officials said on Saturday.

It is the first find of artifacts coming from a sanctuary in the 5th century BC ancient Greek city of Paestum. was identified. Paestum, famous for its three massive temples with Doric columns, is close to the archaeological site of Pompeii but further down the Almalfi Coast.

The small temple was first identified along the ancient city walls in 2019, but excavations have been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy’s culture ministry said in a statement.

Excavations in the first few months of work resuming unearthed several small terracotta figurines, the ministry said. Archaeologists found seven bulls’ heads found surrounding a temple altar as if placed on the ground there in a form of devotion.

A dolphin figurine found in the first trove of artifacts appears to be from the Avili family of ceramists, whose presence had never been previously documented in Paestum, the statement said.

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Limited excavations began at the temples in the 1950s and the Ministry believes further treasures may be found in the area.

The ancient Romans controlled the city around 275 BC. and renamed it Paestum from the Greek Poseidonia, which was previously Magna Graecia.

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