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New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia


After identifying the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia in 2017 and discovering in 2020 the Late-Αrchaic temple with a rich foundation deposit, the Greek-Swiss excavations on the Greek island of Euboea continue in the summer of 2021 East of Amarynthos. The research programme, aiming this year to further uncover the temple, is a collaboration between the Euboea Ephorate of Antiquities headed by Dr. Angeliki Simosi and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece, under Professor Sylvian Fachard.


New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Aerial photograph of the excavation at Amarynthos
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]



The first days of the new excavation period brought to light important findings from inside the temple, adding to the votive offerings of the second half of the 6th c. BC found in 2020. These include black-figure vases imported from Attica, vessels from local workshops, clay and bronze figurines, jewellery, seal stones, a bronze shield and an iron helmet. 


New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
A bronze shield, iron helmet and clay vessels from the foundation deposit of the Late Archaic
temple of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Semicircular gridiron from the temple of Artemis Amarysia (earlier architectural phase)
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

Under the Late-Archaic temple, of which only the foundations survive (10 by 30m), the remains of at least two older architectural phases have been found, among them a semicircular hearth or grate.

New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Deposit of the Late Archaic temple of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos. Photogrammetric
 image of a section [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Clay lion’s head waterspout [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]



Additional trenches were also excavated in other parts of the sanctuary. In one of them, at the northern end of the shrine, along with roof tiles of a building, a clay lion’s head waterspout was found in excellent condition. An archaic or classical wall was also discovered in the same area, which at that time restricted the shrine to the north.


New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Bronze bull statuette from the foundation deposit of the Late Archaic temple
of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Deposit of the Late Archaic temple of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos. Section
of the 2020 excavation [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

During this year’s excavation season, research also began at the foot of the adjacent hill of Palaeoekklisies, with the aim of understanding the reason for the shift of human activities from the hill to the plain and the transformation of the prehistoric settlement into a sanctuary. 


New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Black-figure lekythos from the deposit of the Late Archaic temple of Artemis Amarysia,
Amarynthos [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Bronze phiale from the 2020 excavation of the foundation deposit of the Late Archaic temple
of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]



It should be noted that the prehistoric settlement at the top of the hill was already known from previous excavations by the Euboea Ephorate of Antiquities and is mentioned in a plaque inscribed in Linear B from the palace of Thebes. A medieval building was discovered directly below the surface, while part of a Bronze Age building was found at a deeper level with abundant Mycenaean pottery.


New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Three vases from the 2020 excavation of the foundation deposit of the Late Archaic
temple of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

New finds at the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia
Groundplan of the sanctuary of Artemis Amarysia, Amarynthos
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]

A third area of research is the surface survey between Eretria and Amarynthos, which aims to trace the sacred road mentioned in ancient sources which connected the metropolis with its most important sanctuary. As part of this research, not only will inspections be conducted in the field, but modern technological methods will also be used, such as LiDAR aerial images.


Source: Greek Ministry of Culture [trsl. Archaeology Newsroom; September 01, 2021]



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