Ancient Helmets and Temple Ruins Exhumed Where Greeks Settlers First Arrived in Italy

In a town in southern Italy that was home to a substantial Greek colony long ago, archaeologists recently uncovered the remains of ancient warrior helmets as well as evidence of weaponry and a temple structure believed to have been built by settlers who made their way to expand the reach of ancient Greece, or Magna Graecia, as it was known. The finds date back to the Battle of Alalia, which took place in the 6th century BCE. During that conflict, “a Greek force of Phocaean ships clinched victory over the Etruscans and their Carthaginian allies in a naval battle off the coast of Corsica,” according to a report in the Guardian.

The excavations at Velia, in the Campania region of Italy, also included the remains of temple walls and vases inscribed in such a way as to communicate “sacred” to those who beheld them.

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In a press release, Dario Franceschini, Italy’s minister of culture, called the temple remains part of “the oldest archaic temple dedicated to Athena on the acropolis of Elea-Velia,” adding “It is important to continue investing with conviction in archaeological research which never ceases to return important pieces of the history of the Mediterranean.”

The findings trace back to the earliest years of a city founded around 540 BCE by Focei settlers from Asia Minor. As stated by Italy’s Ministry of Culture, “In consideration of the important results of the new researches, new investigations will be planned … to reconstruct the history of the Greek colony.”


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