Ancient helmets and temple ruins unearthed in excavations in southern Italy

ROME – Archaeologists in southern Italy have discovered ancient warrior helmets and the ruins of a painted brick wall at a site that may have been the precursor to a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, researchers said on Tuesday. responsible.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the remains unearthed at the popular tourist site of Velia were discovered on what had been the acropolis of one of Magna Graecia’s most important cities. Velia lies 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Paestum, a much-visited site of ancient Greek temples.

Recently completed excavations in Velia unearthed a pair of helmets in good condition, the remains of a building, vessels with the Greek inscription for “sacred” and metal fragments of what may be weapons, said the Ministry of Culture.

State museums director Massimo Osanna, who had long previously led excavations at Pompeii, Italy’s most famous excavated site, said the area explored at Velia likely contained relics of offerings made to Athena, the mythological Greek goddess of war and wisdom, after a key naval battle. in the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea.

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In the 6th century BC Battle of Alalia off Corsica, Greek forces were victorious over Etruscan forces and their Carthaginian allies.

Velia is famous for being home to an ancient Greek school of philosophy, including the philosophers Parmenides and Zeno. It was part of Magna Graecia, the region of southern Italy settled by Greek city-states. The settlement of Velia occupied an upper part, or acropolis, of the region as well as the hillsides, and was surrounded by a wall. The old name of the city was Elea.

The foundation of Velia dates back to around 540 BC. AD by settlers from Asia Minor.

Franceschini said the finds brought by the Velia excavations highlighted the importance of investing in archaeological research to reveal “important pieces of Mediterranean history”.

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