Apollo Temple unearthed

Lost Temple of Apollo Unearthed by Archaeologists

On a remote island near the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria lies Apollonia Pontica, an ancient Greek colony that was buried over 2000 years ago.  Excavation work being carried out by a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers led by the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, is beginning to reveal its hidden secrets.

The Greek settlement, founded by Miletian colonists during the 7th Century BC and ruled by Thracian kings became a prosperous city through its trade in copper, gold, olives, wine and other goods. It was here, on the small island of St Kirik near the coastal town of Sozopol, that a well-known 12 metre high bronze statue of Apollo once stood.

The statue was erected in the 5th century BC in front of Apollo’s temple and transported to Rome in 72 BC when the Romans sacked the city.  It then spent many centuries on Capitoline Hill before becoming lost in the pages of history. 

Archaeologists have now unearthed what could be the remains of the Apollo temple and may be closer to finding the statue itself.   Referring to the temple complex presumed to be that of the famous temple of Apollo, the lead archaeologist reported that the "epigraphic sources mention that the temple of Apollo was situated on an island, identified by most of the scholars with St. Kirik Island - the closest one to the ancient city. However, until recently there was no archaeological evidence suggesting where the temple was situated".

The excavation team has now unearthed an Archaic temple complex (believed to be the Apollo temple) which includes a temple and an altar, an oval altar a secondary temple, a copper foundry and an early Byzantine basilica and necropolis.  Along with building foundations, the team has also discovered important remnants and artifacts associated with the colony such as a ritual pit, small pottery perfume containers, one still containing perfume, a ritual fireplace and other smaller items.

 The team of archaeologists will be reporting back once they have confirmation about whether their finding is in fact the legendary temple of Apollo.

By April Holloway

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