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Vandals destroy statues at the archaeological site of Brexiza, Marathon

Unknown perpetrators have raided the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods in Brexiza by Marathon and caused significant damage to several statues. According to a statement issued by the Culture Ministry, the vandalism was discovered by the site guard on Wednesday morning. the statues were damaged most likely with hammers, media report.

There is no night guard at the archaeological site, the ministry said.

As the archaeological site is fenced, suspicion is that one or more perpetrators climbed over the fence at night and destroyed the statues.

The statues of Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris are replicas, while the original ones are exhibited at the Archaeological museum of Marathon.

The statues stand by pair at the three columns of the site.

The police station of Nea Makri is investigating.

media describe the attack as “strange” and some even as “racist.”

Sanctuary of Egyptian gods

The existence of ancient ruins in the locality of Mikro Elos (Small Marsh) of Brexiza has been noted by early travelers, who also refer to the area as Nissi (island).

In 1792 the French Consul in Athens, L.S. Fauvel, drew the ruins of the area, on an islet cut off from the land by a canal.

The excavations have revealed the extensive complex of the Egyptian gods sanctuary and the luxurious bathhouse (balneum), as well as a large ellipsoidal cistern further to the south.

The complex was founded by Herodes Atticus, around 160 AD. The great orator, sophist and benefactor hailed from Marathon and resided here, and the complex was possibly established within his estate.

The sanctuary can be identified as “the sanctuary of Canopus” referred to by Herodes’ biographer Philostratos (2nd-3rd cent. AD). In founding it, Herodes imitated the Emperor Hadrian, who had built a Serapeion on an artificial islet at Tivoli, close to Rome, modeled on the Serapeion of the town of Canopus on the Nile Delta.

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