ROME (AP) — Excavations in southern Italy have uncovered terracotta bull heads and a statue 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 Saturday.
These are the first artifacts to be identified from a sanctuary in the ancient Greek city of Paestum, a 5th-century BC city famed for its three large Doric-columned temples, near the archaeological site of Pompeii but below the Almalfi. the beach
The small temple was first identified in the ancient city walls in 2019, but excavations were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian Ministry of Culture said in a statement.
In the first months of resumption of work, the excavations yielded several small terracotta figurines, the ministry said. Archaeologists found seven bull heads surrounding the temple altar, which was placed on the floor in a devotional form.
A dolphin figurine found in the first set of artefacts appears to belong to the family of Avili potters, whose presence has not been documented before in Bastum, the report said.
Limited excavations at the temples began in the 1950s, and the ministry believes that more treasures may be found in the area.
The ancient Romans took control of the city in 275 BC, renaming it Paestum from the Greek “Positonia”, which had previously been Magna Graecia.