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Temple of Aphrodite discovered in the submerged city of Thonis-Heracleion



In a press statement by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, an archaeological mission has discovered a temple dedicated to Aphrodite in the submerged city of Thonis-Heracleion.

Thonis-Heracleion, was an ancient Egyptian port city located near the Canopic Mouth of the Nile northeast of Alexandria, Egypt. The city was originally built on adjoining islands in the Nile Delta, serving as a major centre for international trade.

Thonis-Heracleion is referenced in the writings of several ancient Greek historians, including Strabo, Diodorus, and Herodotus, as well as the twin steles of the Decree of Nectanebo I and in the Decree of Canopus honouring Pharaoh Ptolemy III.

The city became submerged near the end of the 2nd century BC due to a combination of earthquakes, soil liquefaction, tsunamis, and rising sea levels. Underwater archaeologists rediscovered the city in 2000, with ongoing excavations uncovering numerous monuments, statues, temples, and the largest deposit of ships ever discovered in the ancient world.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

In a recent archaeological mission by the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), working in collaboration with the Hilti Foundation, the Department of Underwater Archaeology in Alexandria, and the Ministry of Tourism and Egyptian Antiquities, underwater archaeologists led by Franck Goddio have uncovered a temple dedicated to Aphrodite from the 5th century BC.

Aphrodite was an Ancient Greek goddess associated with love, lust, beauty, pleasure, passion, and procreation. Along with Athena and Hera, she was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the Trojan War, and she plays a major role throughout the story of Homer’s Iliad.

In addition to the temple discovery, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, said: “bronze and ceramic objects imported from Greece, as well as remains of buildings supported with wooden beams have also been documented from the 5th century BC.”

A recent study of the submerged Temple of Amun has also led to the discovery of various artefacts, including earrings shaped like a lion’s head, a Wadjet made from gold, silver plates, and alabaster vessels.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

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Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica




Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation




Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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