Figurines representing the goddess Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, were unearthed recently at a construction site in the Black Sea resort town of Anapa, in Russia.
The terracotta statuettes, along with a relief, were discovered in early November by archaeologists from the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In antiquity, the region surrounding Anapa, known as Sinda, served as an important seaport. Pontic Greeks established a settlement called Gorgippia there in the sixth century BC, and it developed into a major power in the Black Sea throughout the years of antiquity.
A number of kilns used for the production of pottery and ceramics, mainly dating from the 4th to the 2nd century BC, were also discovered on the outskirts of the ancient city.
It is near the remains of one of the kilns that archaeologists discovered the bulk of the priceless figurines of the Greek goddesses.
Along with a number of complete figurines of Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, archaeologists found a one-sided bust figurine of Demeter herself and an array of tiles, bowls, and pottery fragments at the site.
A dedicatory relief depicting an enthroned Cybele, an Anatolian mother goddess, flanked by Hermes and Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, was also discovered at the Anapa site.
Archaeologists from the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences believe that the relief would have been displayed near a temple or important public building.
The finds at Anapa, located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, highlight the far-reaching influence of Greece in antiquity, as well as its persistence throughout time, as Anapa is still home to a vibrant community of Pontic Greeks to this day.