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Archaeologists find Hecate figurine at ancient Kelenderis

A team of archaeologists from Batman University have uncovered a figurine depicting Hecate during excavations at ancient Kelenderis.

Kelenderis, also known as Celenderis, was an ancient Greek city, port and fortress, located in the present-day town of Aydıncık in Turkey’s Mersin Province.

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Excavations have been ongoing for the past 36 years, in which archaeologists have found the remains of a Roman bathhouse, an odeon (a building used for musical activities such as singing, musical shows, and poetry competitions), churches with a basilica plan and mosaics.

According to legend, the city was founded by Sandocus, the son of the Oceanid Clymene and the sun-god Helios. Archaeological evidence suggests that the site was first inhabited by the Phoenicians, emerging into a major trading centre during the 4th and 5th century BC.

Archaeologists from Batman University have uncovered a figurine depicting Hecate, a three headed goddess from Greek mythology. Hecate is often shown holding a pair of torches, a key, snakes, or accompanied by dogs, and in later periods was depicted as three-formed or triple-bodied.

Hecate is associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, night, light, magic, protection from witchcraft, the Moon, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, graves, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery. She was worshiped by the witches of Thessaly and held a crucial sanctuary among the Carian Greeks of Asia Minor in Lagina.

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According to a press release by Batman University, the figurine dates from 2,300-years-ago and was found among ceramics from the Hellenistic period.

Dr Mahmut Aydın, said: ““It is a figurine that is about 20 centimetres tall and has three heads. We know that she has a temple in the Lagina Ancient City in Muğla and that Kelenderis is counted among the cities that participate in the competitions held every 5 years for Hecate in an inscription there.”

Batman University

Header Image Credit : Batman University

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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