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Ancient Greek Figurines of Demeter Found in Black Sea Town

ancient greek black sea demeter figurines
The figurines of Demeter and Persephone recently discovered in Anapa. Credit: Twitter/HistoryHellenic

Figurines representing the ancient Greek goddess Demeter and her daughter, Persephone, were unearthed 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 of 2020 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.

Ancient Greek kilns, figurines of Demeter found in site on Black Sea

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.

Black Sea area filled with ancient Greek artifacts

This is hardly the first time that ancient Greek treasures have been discovered along the Black Sea.

Greek heritage from six centuries before Christ has been uncovered by archaeologists exploring the ancient Hellenic colony of Apollonia Pontica in modern-day Bulgaria.

The finds were made during high-priority excavations near the Black Sea town of Sozopol, inside the Old Town Archaeological Preserve on the Skamni Peninsula.

According to the Archaeology in Bulgaria news site, the dig has uncovered the well-preserved remains of a dwelling as well as artifacts that include a special wine vessel showing the classical Greek Oedipus myth and the Sphinx.

It is thought the Skamni Peninsula has been inhabited non-stop from ancient Greek times.

The town was founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists from Miletus as Antheia. Its name was later changed to Apollonia because of its temple dedicated to Apollo featuring a huge statue of the god.

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