A surprising archaeological discovery in Paestum could revolutionize the history of the city. During recent excavations, numerous ex-votos, statues and altars were found that could radically change the history known so far of ancient Poseidonia.
The new archaeological discovery in Paestum
In 2019, during the restoration work of the Greek temple discovered along the walls of the ancient city of Poseidonia (now Paestum), archaeologists made a series of extraordinary discoveries that could revolutionize the history of the ancient city of Magna Graecia. As announced by Tiziana D'Angelo, director of the Archaeological Park of Paestum and Velia, the excavations have brought to light incredible surprises, including a stone base with access steps and delimitation of the cell that housed the deity, colored terracotta decorations on the roof, seven bull heads, hundreds of ex-votos (including an Eros riding a dolphin) and an extraordinary gorgon. These are just some of the findings that have emerged in the archaeological park."
As confirmed by director D'Angelo, the findings could "change the known history of ancient Poseidonia". The temple on which the archaeologists are working is unique, crystallized in time at the moment when the sanctuary is abandoned between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st century BC. According to Gabriel Zuchtriegel, former director of Paestum now in Pompeii, this temple is "the smallest Doric peripteral temple we know before the Hellenistic age" and represents "a sort of missing link between the 6th and 5th centuries BC". Thanks to the large number of objects found, it will be possible to shed light on the history of Poseidonia. Many of the objects found are "elements of strong interest", such as the signature of the Avili on a statuette or a Roman coin from the 3rd century BC that would suggest that the temple may be dedicated to Poseidon. We will have to wait for further excavations and discoveries to learn more.
Director Tiziana D'Angelo clarified that many of the objects found are "elements of strong interest", such as the particular location of the sanctuary, built in the city near the sea but far from the center and other temples. Among the findings is also the signature of the Avili on a statuette, a family of ceramicists of Lazio origin also known in Delos, whose presence in Paestum had never been documented. In addition, a Roman coin from the 3rd century BC was found with Eros riding a dolphin on one side and Poseidon on the other, which would suggest that the temple may be dedicated to the deity who gave its name to the city. According to director D'Angelo "it is still early to say, but the hypothesis is extremely interesting". We will have to wait for further excavations and discoveries to learn more about the richness of the nation's archaeological heritage.