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Temple of Poseidon Remains Further Revealed at Peloponnesian Site

Elaborating on an earlier finding about the remains of a temple-shaped building at the Kleidi, Samikos dig on the west coast of the Peloponnese, researchers said it almost certainly was the Temple of Poseidon.

The team is made up of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in collaboration with colleagues from the German-based Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) Kiel University, and Greece’s Ephorate of Antiquities of Elis.  The Mainz-based team from the JGU Institute of Geography headed by Professor Andreas Vött contributed to the investigative work with their drilling and direct push techniques, said Phys.Org of their work.

They had been working at the site since 2022 on what is a five-year excavation and in September then found part of the foundation of a large building.

It was 9.4 meters(30.83 feet) wide with walls 0.80 meters (2.62 feet) wide.

Combined with the laconic-type tiling at the site, the discovery was  part of a marble water basin (perrirhanterion) leads archaeologists to tentatively date the building to the Archaic period.

The project was designed to investigate the topography and identify the sanctuary of Poseidon and the port of Samiko. It is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia headed by Erofili Kollia and the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences headed by Birgitta Eder.

After initial excavation work under the supervision of Eder in autumn 2022, these structures proved to be the foundations of an ancient temple that could well be those of the long-sought temple to Poseidon.

“The location of this uncovered sacred site matches the details provided by Strabo in his writings,” emphasized Eder, who is working for the Austrian Archaeological Institute and a key member.

The ancient Greek historian Strabo referred to the presence of an important shrine located on the west coast of the Peloponnese some 2,000 years ago, the site said, and the researchers believe this is it.

ROCKING IT

The form of the western coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, the region in which the site is located, is very distinctive, an extended curve of the Gulf of Kyparissa of three hills of solid rock surrounded by coastal alluvial sediments in an area otherwise dominated by lagoons and coastal swamps.

That made it easy access and secure in ancient times and a settlement was established during the Mycenaean era that flourished for several centuries and was able to maintain contacts to the north and south along the coast. Mainz University Professor Andreas Vött has been undertaking geoarchaeological surveys of this area since 2018 to clarify how it’s evolved and changed over time.

with the aim of clarifying how this unique situation evolved and how the coast He has collaborated in several campaigns with Eder, Director of the Athens Branch of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and Erofili-Iris Kolia of the local monuments protection authority, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Elis.

“The results of our investigations to date indicate that the waves of the open Ionian Sea actually washed up directly against the group of hills until the 5th millennium BCE. Thereafter, on the side facing the sea, an extensive beach barrier system developed in which several lagoons were isolated from the sea,” said Vött, who is Professor of Geomorphology at JGU, the site reported.

He said there was also evidence that the region was repeated hit by tsunami events in the prehistoric and historic periods and that, “The elevated situation provided by the hills would have been of fundamental importance in antiquity as it would have made it possible to move on dry land along the coast to the north and to the south.”

In autumn 2021, geophysicist Dennis Wilken of Kiel University found traces of structures at a site at the eastern foot of the hill group in an area that had already been identified as of interest following previous exploration.

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