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‘Exceptional’ Greek temples unearthed in Italy, estimated to be 2,400 years old

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Archaeologists have unearthed two “exceptional” temples that are estimated to be 2,400 years old in a historic ancient city in southern Italy.

According to a press release from the Italian Ministry of Culture, two Greek temples in the Doric style were discovered in the western area of ​​the ancient city of Poseidonia Paestum in Italy.

Officials said that the archaeological sight will shed a light on the origins and urban development of the Magna Graecia polis, which refers to the coastal areas of southern Italy.

The two large temples were close to the city walls and a few hundred meters from the sea, officials said.

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The Director of the Archaeological Park of Paestum and Velia, Tiziana D’Angelo, said that the temples documents multiple phases of the 2,400 year old construction.

“These exceptional discoveries, which add new fundamental pieces to the reconstruction of the archaic history of the Magna Graecia colony of Poseidonia, document the multiple construction phases of a sanctuary located in a liminal area, near the coast from which the colonists themselves had arrived a few decades earlier, and built in the archaic period before the city was even equipped with a defensive circuit,” D’Angelo said.

Temple of Poseidon or Neptune

Offiicials said that the first temple can be dated to around the first decades of the 5th. Century B.C, but investigations appear to be even older.

The first temple measured 11.60×7.60 meters and had a peristasis of 4 x 6 columns.

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Inside the structure, archaeologists found fragments of an even older temple, officials said. 

The older temple dated back to the sixth century B.C.

Excavation sight

D’Angelo said that the excavations of the temples are almost complete and the park plans to make the newly unearthed ruins accessible to visitors.

“It is a complex excavation site that requires the collaboration of archaeologists, restorers, engineers, architects and geologists,” D’Angelo said. “The excavation activities will be concluded shortly, and we are already working to create a new route of use that will make this important sanctuary accessible to the public.”

 

Paestum is located along the southern coast of Italy and is about 160 miles southeast of Rome.

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