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Greece. Thousands of figurines in the ruins of the temple. Where did they come from?

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More than 2,000 clay figurines have been found on the Greek island of Kitnos. Small, well-preserved finds depict human figures and animals. Archaeologists suppose that these figurines were offered as a gift to the goddess Persephone by the followers.

More than 2,000 clay figurines of people and animals have been discovered in the ruins of the temple of Persephone on the Greek island of Kitnos, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports has announced. In ancient times, there was a temple of Persephone, the daughter of the goddess Demeter who takes care of nature and the wife of Hades, the god of the underworld.

Actors, children and pigs

According to archaeologists from the University of Thessaly, who are in charge of the excavations, the figurines found had a votive meaning – they were gifts donated by believers. Among the finds, images of women and children predominate, as well as actors and animals – turtles, lions, pigs and birds. The site also discovered fragments of luxury pottery imported from other parts of Greece and decorated lamps, as well as fragments of ritual vases used in the cult of Demeter and Persephone.

Figurines found on KitnosGreek Ministry of Culture and Sports

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The artifacts come from the ruins of two small temples, an oblong building that may have been used as a temple storehouse, and a nearby pit where older offerings were buried to make room for new ones. The sanctuary was used for about a thousand years, starting in the 7th century BC. The temple complex was discovered in 2021, according to archaeologists, and excavations are expected to last until 2025.

Traces from thousands of years ago

It is not clear how the small sanctuary on Kitnos was related to Eleusis. It was one of the most important religious centers in ancient Greece, dedicated to the cult of Demeter and Persephone, where the most important Greek mysteries took place. It is only known that Eleusis administered part of the island’s territory.

The island of Kitnos, located in the Cyclades archipelago, was first settled about 10,000 years ago. The village of Vryokastro, near which there are temple ruins, was the capital of the island in ancient times. It was inhabited continuously between the 12th century BC and the 7th century AD, when the inhabitants moved inland due to pirate attacks. Copper deposits on the island have been mined since the third millennium BC, and in Roman times it was a place of political exile.

Figurines found on KitnosGreek Ministry of Culture and Sports

The ruins of the temple on Kitnos, where the figurines were foundGreek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Main photo source: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

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