Submerged frieze from Temple of Zeus found off Sicilian coast

Underwater archaeologists have announced the discovery of a submerged marble frieze block off the coastline of Sicily, which according to experts belonged to the Temple of Zeus in ancient Akragas.

The Temple of Zeus is a large doric temple located in the Valley of the Temples. The valley was a ceremonial centre associated with ancient Akragas (Agrigento), which includes the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Heracles, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Hephaestus (Vulcan), and the Temple of Asclepius.

- Advertisement -

The Temple of Zeus was one of the largest Doric temples ever constructed, measuring 112 metres in length by 56 metres in width.

Historical accounts from the Ancient Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, reveal that the temple construction remained unfinished, halted by the Carthaginian conquest of Akragas in 406 BC. The temple was eventually toppled by earthquakes and in the 18th century was quarried extensively to provide building materials for nearby settlements.

In a press announcement by the BCsicilia non-profit group, underwater archaeologists found the marble block 300 metres from the Sicilian coast at a depth of 9 metres beneath the water surface.

The block measures approximately 2 metres in length by 1.6 metres in height, and is made from Proconnesian marble sourced from the quarries on the Turkish island of Marmara Adası.

- Advertisement -

On one side is a carved frieze depicting a prancing horse, which likely adorned the exterior tympanum facade of the temple structure. Horses were a typical artistic theme in important Ancient Greek structures, serving as a symbolic representation of power and strength.

A representative of BCsicilia told HeritageDaily: “The extraordinary discovery was immediately reported to the Superintendency of the Sea for the purpose of recovering the exceptional find, which was finally brought back to shore this morning.”

Header Image Credit : BCsicilia

- Advertisement -
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.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Study confirms palace of King Ghezo was site of voodoo blood rituals

A study, published in the journal Proteomics, presents new evidence to suggest that voodoo blood rituals were performed at the palace of King Ghezo.

Archaeologists search for home of infamous Tower of London prisoner

A team of archaeologists are searching for the home of Sir Arthur Haselrig, a leader of the Parliamentary opposition to Charles I, and whose attempted arrest sparked the English Civil War.

Tartessian plaque depicting warrior scenes found near Guareña

Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology of Mérida (IAM) and the CSIC have uncovered a slate plaque depicting warrior scenes at the Casas del Turuñuelo archaeological site.

Archaeologists find a necropolis of stillborn babies

Excavations by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) have unearthed a necropolis for stillborn and young children in the historic centre of Auxerre, France.

Researchers find historic wreck of the USS “Hit ‘em HARDER”

The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) has confirmed the discovery of the USS Harder (SS 257), an historic US submarine from WWII.

Archaeologists uncover Roman traces of Vibo Valentia

Archaeologists from the Superintendent of Archaeology Fine Arts and Landscape have made several major discoveries during excavations of Roman Vibo Valentia at the Urban Archaeological Park.

Archaeologists uncover crypts of the Primates of Poland

Archaeologists have uncovered two crypts in the collegiate church in Łowicz containing the Primates of Poland.

Giant prehistoric rock engravings could be territorial markers

Giant rock engravings along the Upper and Middle Orinoco River in South America could be territorial markers according to a new study.