In the context of this year’s excavation period within the five-year research program in the Kleidi area in Samikon (in the Greek region of Elis), which concluded at the end of September, significant data about the monumental structure discovered in 2022 through geophysical survey, came to light.

The research project, aiming to investigate the topography of the area and locate the sanctuary of Poseidon and the port of Samikon, is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Antiquities of Elis and the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Dr. Birgitta Eder and Dr. Erofili Kollias.

During the excavation, a part of the building was uncovered, revealing that its dimensions are larger than originally estimated from the geophysical survey. The total length of the structure is estimated to be around 28 meters, and its width exceeds 9 meters. It is a temple from the 6th century BCE with two construction phases.

According to recent evidence, it appears that this temple was a place of worship within the famous sanctuary of Poseidon, an important religious center of the Amphictiony of the cities of Triphylia, as mentioned by Strabo in his Geography.

It was built in the Archaic period but seems to have been reconstructed during the second half of the 4th to the early 3rd century BCE and consists of two main halls, as well as a smaller one in the northwest (rear).

The hall, initially interpreted as a pronaos, turned out to be one of the rooms of the cella, in whose axis the bases of two columns from an Archaic colonnade were found. Therefore, it can be assumed that there were similar columns in the second hall as well. In any case, the temple’s plan is unusual, without a precise parallel.

The function of the two main halls remains unclear. Perhaps two deities were worshipped, or the second hall could have served as the seat of the Amphictiony. During the temple’s reconstruction, tiles from the old roof were reused, evenly placed as a substrate for the new pavement.

The archaeological research is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation and the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, while geophysical investigations are carried out by a research team from the University of Kiel and geoarchaeological research by researchers from the University of Mainz.

In the coming years, the team plans to continue investigating the site to obtain more evidence of the extent and shape of the sanctuary.


Sources

Greek Ministry of Culture


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