Archaeologists may have found temple of Poseidon in Greek Samicum

Ancient texts describe a temple dedicated to the Samian Poseidon located near the ancient city of Samicum.

Poseidon. National Archaeological Museum of Athens (photo credit: RICARDO ANDRÉ FRANTZ/CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA)
Poseidon. National Archaeological Museum of Athens
(photo credit: RICARDO ANDRÉ FRANTZ/CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA)

Archaeologists may have found the sanctuary of the Samian Poseidon while they were conducting excavations at the Samicum Acropolis in Greece, Heritage Daily reported on Sunday.

The location where the potential temple was found fits with texts by Ancient Greek geographer Strabo who wrote about the temple in his work Geographica: “Then comes the mountain of Triphylia that sees Macistia from Pisatis; then another river called Chalcis, and a spring called Cruni, and a settlement called Chalcis, and, after these, Samicum, where is the most highly revered temple of the Samian Poseidon,” according to the report.

Ancient documents describe a temple dedicated to the Samian Poseidon located near Samicum, a city that existed in the middle and late Helladic periods.

Who is Poseidon?

In ancient Greek religion, Poseidon is the god of water, the sea, earthquakes and horses and a son of the Titan Cronus and the fertility goddess Rhea, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Remains of the walls of the ancient city of Samicum (credit: MORIKANOS/CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)Remains of the walls of the ancient city of Samicum (credit: MORIKANOS/CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

According to mythology, Poseidon wielded a trident created by the three Cyclopes.

As the god of earthquakes, many temples dedicated to Poseidon were located on land, but sometimes they were built atop pools or streams, the encyclopedia noted.

Findings of the excavations

Geophysical surveys in 2017, 2018 and 2021 indicated a possible location of the sanctuary of the Samian Poseidon; the recent excavations that uncovered the location in the foothills of Samicum are part of a program that is projected to run until 2026.

At the excavation site, the team of archaeologists uncovered the foundation of a 31-foot-wide building. This measurement, along with previous geophysical data indicated that the full structure is up to 92 feet long, according to the Heritage Daily report.

Features of the temple

At the structure, the researchers found a pronaos—a typical archaeological feature of Greek temples—two inner rooms containing a dense layer of tiles, a marble basin associated with cults and fragments of a roof from the Archaic period.