Samiko Ilias: An ancient temple that is believed to have belonged to the sanctuary of Poseidon has come to light

Samiko Ilias: An ancient temple that is believed to have belonged to the sanctuary of Poseidon has come to light

Building remains that can be attributed to the sanctuary of Poseidon were identified during this year’s first excavation period of the five-year research program in the Key of Samikos (years 2022-2026).

The research project, which aims to investigate the topography of the area and to identify the sanctuary of Poseidon and the port of Samikos, is a collaboration of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia, under the direction of Dr. Erofilis Kollia, with the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Dr. Birgitta Eder. It was preceded in the years 2017, 2018 and 2021 by geoarchaeological and geophysical research by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia and the Austrian Archaeological Institute in collaboration with the Universities of Mainz (Prof. Andreas Vött) and Kiel (Dr. Dennis Wilken).

Enclosure section

The location of Kleidis, where the ancient temple-shaped building was located, was suggested by earlier researchers as a possible location of the famous ancient sanctuary, as it is located in the foothills of the ancient acropolis of Samikos, which dominates the area north of the Caiaphas lagoon on the west coast of the Peloponnese. According to the information provided by Strabo (Geographies, 8th book), the sanctuary of Poseidon was an important cult center of the amphictyony of the cities of Triphylia and was located near the sea, under the acropolis of Samikos.

Excavations were completed at the end of September, during which part of the foundation of a large building 9.40 m wide, whose walls are 0.80 m wide, was revealed. A dense layer of tiles was found inside. Based on the indications of the geophysical survey and the excavation data, a building of at least 28 m in length can be reconstructed, which had two inner rooms, as well as a pronaos and a back building or shelter. The elongated temple-shaped building probably belonged to the sanctuary of Poseidon and may be identified with the god’s temple.

samiko ileias

General view of excavation

In combination with the laconic type ceramosis, the discovery of part of a marble enclosure leads us to initially date the building to the Archaic period. The marble basin, which imitates a copper basin, is a characteristic vessel with a cultic use that is characteristic of a sanctuary. This discovery is considered to give new perspectives to the research of the political and economic importance of the amphictyony of the Triphylian cities during the 6th century BC, as the sanctuary of Poseidon was the center of their religious and national identity.

The research, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the Austrian Archaeological Institute (Austrian Academy of Sciences), will continue in the coming years to further investigate the sanctuary of Poseidon and the archaic temple.





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