Students unearthed rare marble head of Apollo

Students unearthed rare marble head of Apollo

Archaeologists suggest the discovery of an ancient fountain

During excavations carried out by a group of students from the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, important finds were discovered at the archaeological site of Philippi Kavala. Among other things, archaeologists discovered a rare head of Apollo dating from the 2nd or early 3rd century AD.

The statue dates back to the 2nd or early 3rd century AD and likely adorned an ancient fountain, Arkeonews reports.

Natalia Poulos, Professor of Byzantine Archeology, led the excavations, which were attended by fifteen students from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (11 MA students, 2 MSc and 2 PhD students), Assistant Professor Anastasios Tantzis and Professor Emeritus of Byzantine Archeology Aristotle Menzo.

Archaeologists say that this year excavations continued east of the southern main road (decumanus) where it intersects with the northern axis of the city (the so-called “Egnatia”). An extension of the marble-paved road was discovered, on the surface of which a coin of Emperor Leo VI (886-912) was found, which helps determine the length of time the road was used. At the point where the two streets meet there appears to be a widening plaza overlooked by an ornate building.

Archaeologists say evidence from last year's excavations leads them to believe it was a fountain. This year's research results support this view and help them better understand its form and function.

A study carried out in 2022 revealed part of the fountain's rich decoration with the most impressive statue depicting Hercules as a boy with a youthful body.

During recent excavations (in 2023), the head of another statue was discovered: it belongs to an elderly man with a rich crown topped with a wreath of laurel leaves. This beautiful head appears to belong to a statue of the god Apollo. Like the statue of Hercules, it dates from the 2nd or early 3rd century AD and probably adorned a fountain, which took its final form in the 8th and 9th centuries.

In classical Greek and Roman religion and mythology, Apollo is one of the Olympian gods. In antiquity, he was revered as the god of poetry, the Sun and light, healing and illness, music and dance, truth and prophecy, as well as the god of archery and much more, recalls Arkeonews.

Philip II, king of Macedonia, founded the ancient city of Philippi in 356 BC on the site of the Phasian colony of Crenida near the Aegean Sea. In 2016, the archaeological site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding Roman architecture, urban layout as a smaller reflection of Rome itself, and significance to early Christianity.

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