Secrets of a temple: Offerings to ancient water goddess found in Crete, Greece

Archaeologists on the Greek island of Crete unearthed the ruins of a temple rebuilt 2,300 years ago, finding offerings to an ancient water goddess. Photo from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports Read more at:

Jagged mountain tops, carved by ages of wind and rain, overlook the Mediterranean Sea from the Greek island of Crete. These rocky, red-brown peaks hid a secret for over 2,000 years, but not anymore.

According to the travel website Visit Falassarna, archaeologists have known about the ancient city of Phalasarna for a long time.

On the western side of the island of Crete, roughly 200 miles south of the Greek mainland, lie the ruins of the port city. According to Visit Falassarna, archaeologists have found the ruins of towers, a road, water tanks, and factories along the coastline.

A new discovery was made during excavations between two mountain peaks overlooking the harbour, according to a news release from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports on November 11.

The release said that archaeologists unearthed the ruins of a temple reconstructed during the late fourth century B.C. and early third century B.C. Experts said that the dusty, worn-down ruins were once a monumental staircase leading to two buildings: the main temple and a secondary structure.

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A view of the temple ruins from above. Photo from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports

Archaeologists said that excavations found five offering cases in the once-tiled floor of the temple. Inside these cases, researchers found well-preserved, elegant vases.

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The ministry said that Demeter is an ancient Greek goddess associated with the earth, fertility, and the power of water as a life source. The sister and consort of Zeus, she was also worshipped as a goddess of agriculture, Britannica reported.

Digging more profound at the once-sacred site, archaeologists found a pit with art from 600 B.C. — centuries older than the other discoveries, the release said. These artistic offerings included clay female figurines, glass objects and terracotta animal figurines.

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Female figurines made from clay around 600 B.C. were found at the temple. Photos from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports
Piece by piece, archaeologists concluded that the temple was rebuilt about 2,300 years ago after an earlier structure collapsed, experts said in the release. In between, people used the open-air space to worship the goddess Demeter. The ancient city of Phalasarna, sometimes called Falasarna or Falassarna, still had more secrets to reveal.