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Stunning findings unearthed at the Artemis Amarysia Sanctuary

Greek-Swiss excavations at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia have brought to light important new findings on the history of the most significant shrine dedicated to ancient Greek goddess Artemis. The sanctuary is considered the foremost center of her cult and is located just two kilometers east of Amarynthos on the island of Evia, in Central Greece.

According to a press release issued by the Greek Culture Ministry, after the revelation of a series of buildings from the classical and Hellenistic periods in recent years, the program now aims to investigate the archaic and geometric phase of the place of worship, but also the prehistoric settlement on the adjacent hill of the Paleoekklision, in order to understand the first worship in space and the reasons that led to the shift of human activity from the hill to the coastal plain, where the sanctuary was founded.


This year the excavation of the Late Archaic temple continued and that of the depositor was completed, which was revealed in 2020 in its foundations and contained hundreds of votive offerings.

Several new installations of the Geometric and Archaic eras were identified, as well as exceptional finds.

In various places and especially around a horseshoe-shaped altar from an older phase of the temple, the finds prove that in the second half of the 8th century BC. there was already a cult.

Some walls of a building belong to this phase. Also, research continued on the foundations of the first archaic temple and its innermost or the most secret part of a temple, the adytum.

Cooper shield

Copper flasks, jewelry, such as a faience seal in the shape of a scarab on a silver ring, two copper shields, but also iron objects, such as double chisels, which could be associated with sacrifices, were found in the shelter.

faience seal in the shape of a scarab on a silver ring (7th-6th century BC)

After the destruction of the first archaic temple, the site was remodeled with the construction of adobe walls. The wealthy votive depositor of the last quarter of the 6th century BC. probably associated with the construction of a second Archaic temple, where vases, jewelry, scarab seals, clay figurines, a bronze shield, iron swords, and a stone statuette were found this year.

Stone statuette (height 31 cm), which dates from the Archaic period, represents a female figure holding an animal in her arms, probably a deer. (probably beginning of 6th century BC)

In later Late Archaic layers, two fragments of bronze statues were discovered: life-size toes and part of a garment.

Three toes in life size from a cooper statue in the temple area.

To the east of the temple, the excavation continued in a monumental building of the 7th century BC, which was used during the archaic period as the boundary of the temple, but also as an entrance to the sanctuary. Below this building, the continuation of a strong wall was found, currently of unknown use, dating from the 11th century BC, as well as the remains of buildings from the Geometric era.

Μνημειώδες κτήριο της πρώιμης αρχαϊκής περιόδου και σε βαθύτερα στρώματα ένα γεωμετρικό αψιδωτό κτήριο και ένας υστερομυκηναϊκός τοίχος

In the four sections excavated in 2021 and 2022 in this area, the image of an important settlement of the Early Bronze Age, i.e. the 3rd millennium BC, which had contacts with the Cyclades and other regions, appears. The layers of the 2nd millennium BC, and especially of the Mycenaean era, however, seem to be preserved only in fragments due to erosion. The remains of the 3rd millennium are immediately covered in most places by Byzantine and post-Byzantine buildings. During the Middle Ages, a new settlement was created on the hill, which contributed to the destruction of the ruins of the now abandoned sanctuary of Artemis right next door.

Excavation area of Artemis Amarysia in Amarynthos

The excavation program, which began systematically in 2012 and ended in 2017 in the identification of one of the most important sanctuaries of Evia, is conducted by the Swiss Archaeological School in Greece in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Evia.

sources: Culture Ministry Greece, Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece

PS any explanation about the 3-toe-foot?

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