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Workers unearth 'perfectly preserved' 2000 year old Greek altar while clearing bushes

A sacred family treasure was buried under a few inches of dirt on an island in Sicily's Segesta Archaeological Park for centuries until it was discovered by workers.

Workers unearth 'perfectly preserved' 2000 year old Greek altar while clearing bushes
Image Source: Youtube | Reuters

Imagine the sheer serendipity of brushing away dirt only to uncover ancient treasures hidden beneath. Well, that's precisely what happened when a group of workers were clearing bushes in a lesser-explored area of Sicily's Segesta Archaeological Park. In an extraordinary stroke of luck, these workers stumbled upon two remarkably preserved artifacts, dating back an astonishing 2000 years, while uprooting plants mere inches beneath the surface of the shrubbery. The pair of intricately carved stone sculptures were identified as a Greek family altar used for worship during the Hellenistic period, reports Miami Herald.


The Hellenistic period was a time when ancient Greek culture spread across the Mediterranean. The period lasted from 323 B.C. to approximately 30 B.C. when the ancient Roman empire began to expand. The 2,000-year-old stone sculptures were revealed by the Sicily Regional Government in a news release on June 30.

The release reads, "New precious discovery in Segesta: buried for centuries by a few centimeters of land and vegetation, in the area of the South Acropolis, an altar supposedly from the Hellenistic era, consisting of two exquisite carved stone elements, has come back to light."


One of the artifacts is taller, skinnier, and has a detailed design carved into it. It has a bordered design on the top that almost looks like temple pillars. Photos show a line of overflowing cornucopias and intricate wreaths running across the center. The other sculpture is shorter and resembles a block. Photos show a textured pattern across the front and sides. A medallion-like piece appears to have been broken off the top.


According to Euronews, this smaller artifact was likely used as a support for the larger, more detailed main altarpiece. Officials said the artifacts were "perfectly preserved." Archaeologists will continue to study the sculptures, according to the release. For centuries, it had been buried beneath a few centimeters of earth and vegetation in the area of the Southern Acropolis at the Segesta site on the island's western tip.


"This exceptional discovery confirms the inestimable historical and artistic value that archaeological sites represent for our territory," said Renato Schifani, the regional president, describing it as "evidence of a glorious past that is still to be discovered and interpreted."

"The Segesta site never ceases to amaze us," added Sicily's regional culture minister Francesco Paolo Scarpinato. "Excavations continue to bring to ligh, pieces that add new perspectives and interpretations to a site where multiple civilizations are stratified," he said in a statement.


Italy seems to be a bakehouse of treasures. A 2000-year-old still-life fresco resembling a pizza has been discovered in the ruins of ancient Pompeii. However, the pizza-looking dish is missing two essential ingredients: tomato and mozzarella. It does, however, have a pineapple-looking topping on it.


The bread is seasoned with spices or pesto, an ancient Roman herb cheese spread, according to archeologists at the Unesco World Heritage site. A goblet of wine, dried fruit, dates, pomegranate, and a garland of yellow arbutus flank the bread. It was discovered during excavations in the Pompeii archaeological park's Regio IX area, close to Naples, the birthplace of pizza.

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