25 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Offerings to goddess Demeter uncovered in archaic temple on Crete island, Greek

Nestled between two mountain peaks overlooking the harbor, excavations in the ancient city of Phalasarna revealed hundreds of offerings to the goddess Demeter in the remains of an ancient temple, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports said in a Nov. 11 news release.

The ancient city of Phalasarna is located on the western end of Crete, an island about 200 miles south of mainland Greece.

According to the press release, archaeologists discovered the remains of a temple that had been rebuilt between the late fourth and early third century B.C. The dusty, worn-down ruins were once a monumental staircase leading to two buildings: the main temple and a secondary structure, experts said.

The temple was built in Doric style on a natural rock with two fluted columns, capitals, metopes, and pediment. Estimates indicate it was more than 25 feet high and 16 feet wide. Most important it is the only temple of its kind in Crete.

Archaeologists on the Greek island of Crete unearthed the ruins of a temple rebuilt 2,300 years ago, finding offerings to an ancient water goddess. Photo: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Archaeologists discovered five offering cases in the temple’s once-tiled floor. Researchers found well-preserved, elegant vases inside these cases. Archaeologists translated the inscription on one vase to read: A K E S T O I D A M A T R I – dedicated to the goddess Demeter.

Archaeologists said that as they dug down further at the formerly sacred site, they came across a pit that contained artwork that was from 600 B.C., which is hundreds of years older than the other finds. Glass items, terracotta animal figurines, and clay figurines of women were among these artistic offerings.

The early Archaic period (650 BC) appears to be dominated by Daedalic art in the form of naked female figures with Daedalic headdresses and high poles. From the findings of the 6th c. e.g. Egyptian and Phoenician glass objects, terracotta bird and animal figurines, arrowheads and spearheads, miniature vases, enthroned female figures, and a female figurine holding a poppy and pomegranate stand out. Regarding the findings of the 4th and 3rd c. BC the hydriai stand out, a beaked ritual prochos with a red representation of a flying Cupid, iron spikes and alabaster vessels.

Left: Pottery engraved with the name of the goddess Demeter. Right: Another pottery vessel found at the temple. Photo: the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Piece by piece, archaeologists concluded that the temple was rebuilt about 2,300 years ago after an earlier structure collapsed, experts said according to the release.

Demeter is an ancient Greek goddess associated with the earth, fertility, and the power of water as a life source. The sister and consort of Zeus, she was also worshiped as a goddess of agriculture.

Female figurines made from clay around 600 B.C. were found at the temple. Photo: the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Dorians established Phalasarna around the 7th century BC on the on the far West of Crete on Grambousa peninsula’s Cape Koutri. They controlled the sea routes to Northern Africa and Italy from this location. Their city-state had laws and a political system that allowed for the growth of a progressive community. The local economy’s strength was based on seafaring ability, which led Phalasarna to become a naval power. In the 4thcentury BC, Phalasarna fortified the city with huge walls and other military buildings.

Cover Photo: A view of the temple ruins from above. Photo from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Related Articles

Archaeologists discovered medieval Bury St Edmunds Abbey ‘Bishop Boy’ token in Norfolk

19 December 2023

19 December 2023

Archaeologists have discovered token in Norfolk in the East of England, dating from between 1470 and 1560, given to the...

Egypt discovers five 4,000-year-old ancient tombs in Saqqara necropolis

19 March 2022

19 March 2022

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced recently the discovery of five 4,000-year-old ancient tombs in the Saqqara archaeological...

Will new Technology be able to Solve the Mystery in Masovia?

14 May 2021

14 May 2021

Although there are about 500 medieval tombs found in today’s Masovia and Podlasie cities, the question of who these tombs...

A unique 2,800-year-old ivory-decorated piece was discovered in the Ancient City of Hattusa

13 November 2023

13 November 2023

An ivory-decorated piece, estimated to be approximately 2,800 years old, was found during the archaeological excavation in the Hattusa Ancient...

Archaeologists in northern Spanish have discovered what they believe to be the oldest Basque language text

15 November 2022

15 November 2022

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the oldest Basque language text, on  Irulegi archaeological site, near the Aranguren...

Two more Giants discovered at Mont’e Prama in Sardinia, Italy

7 May 2022

7 May 2022

Two more Giants have emerged from the Mont’e Prama excavations in Sardinia: both of the new statues have been described...

1900 years old a Customs Inscription from the Lycian civilization reveals Anatolia’s strategic importance in maritime trade

16 September 2023

16 September 2023

A Customs Inscription from the Lycian civilization, located in Andriake port in the southern province of Antalya’s Demre district, tells...

Two rock chambers thought to be dining rooms unearthed at ‘House of Muses’ in southeastern Turkey

27 July 2021

27 July 2021

House of Muses, a Roman-era house named after the muse mosaics found in the area located in the ancient city...

The very unknown ancient city of the Mediterranean; Syedra

3 July 2022

3 July 2022

Known as Turkey’s holiday paradise, the Antalya region is a treasure when it comes to ancient cities. Close to the...

Ancient Herpes DNA Points to Oral Herpes’ Beginnings: First kisses may have helped spread cold sore virus

28 July 2022

28 July 2022

The ancient genomes of the herpes virus, which commonly causes lip sores and currently infects about 3.7 billion people worldwide,...

Hundreds of skeletons found on Welsh beach

4 July 2021

4 July 2021

Archaeologists found the burial site of women and children just below the surface of the sand dunes on Whitesands Bay...

A surprising discovery in Lublin countryside! Ancient figurines of Egyptian and Roman gods found

6 May 2023

6 May 2023

Two ancient figurines depicting the Egyptian god Osiris and a bust of the Roman god Bacchus were found in the...

Unique and very well-preserved prehistoric engravings found in southwestern Catalonia

23 March 2023

23 March 2023

Significant prehistoric rock art has been discovered in La Febro, in southwestern Catalonia. The team that discovered the art inside...

Remains of painkillers were found in 4500-year-old vessels during excavations at Küllüoba Höyük in Turkey

20 September 2022

20 September 2022

In the excavations of the Early Bronze Age Küllüoba Höyük (Kulluoba Mound) in Eskişehir, where the first urbanization structure of...

Restoration of the Duomo of Florence has revealed original polychrome paint

1 December 2022

1 December 2022

During the restoration of the Porta dei Cornacchini and the marble cladding of the northern side of Florence’s Duomo, extensive...