Ancient Settlement In Black Sea May Be Hiding Lost Temple To Apollo

Last year was a phenomenal for archaeology. Not only did archaeologists uncover new discoveries, advancements in their research methods uncovered truths behind the discoveries previously excavated and studied. The Inquisitr made sure to report on both sides of this archaeological spectrum. New discoveries includes the earliest copy of a Gospel in a Pharaoh mask and the earliest depiction of Jesus Christ in Spain on a glass plate. New research includes solving the death of an ancient 724-year-old Italian warlord and figuring out the meaning behind the etchings of the Shigir Idol.

Now, the first big archaeological discovery of 2015 may be upon us, as archaeologists investigate an ancient settlement on a tiny island in the Black Sea. What is interesting is this settlement might be hiding a lost temple to Apollo.

According to Popular Archaeology, it reports that a team of archaeologists are discovering new finds on the tiny island of St. Kirik in the Black Sea, just off the coast of Sozopol, Bulgaria. The findings may shed some light on the location of a lost temple to Apollo, erected by Archaic Greeks in the late 6th century BCE. The team used epigraphical sources that document the temple was raised on an island near the ancient Greek colony of Apollonia Pontica, which is located near present-day Sozopol. A precise location wasn’t given, but the discovery of a fragment of East Greek pottery with an inscription dedicated to Apollo on St. Kirik may be the linchpin that finds it soon enough.

Sozopol Bulgaria
Sozopol, Bulgaria is the present day location of where the Apollonia Pontica used to stand. (via Wikimedia)

There is a major reason why the archaeology team, led by Kristina Panayotova of the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, are looking for the lost temple of Apollo. According to historical records, a colossal 13-meter high bronze statue of Apollo was raised in dedication to the Apollo letros (the Healer), the patron deity of Apollonia Pontica, in front of the temple. Kristina provided a historical account of the bronze statue.

“In 72 BCE, the Romans under Marcus Lucullus sacked the city and the colossal sculpture was taken to Rome as a trophy. It was exhibited for several centuries on the Capitoline Hill.”

Technically, Kristina Panayotova’s archaeology team has been excavating the area around the Apollonia Pontica for at least the last four years. According to an article by Sofia Echo back in 2011, Kristina provided initial details about the ancient settlement as being the most ancient in the country of Bulgaria.

“The other Greek colonies along the Bulgarian Black Sea – Odessus Messambria, Dionysopolis and Byzone were settled later, in the areas of today’s Varna, Nessebur, Balchik and Kavarna.”

At that time, however, the archaeology team only discovered numerous artifacts that were evidence of rituals performed in honor of other Greek gods and goddesses. These included jugs, amphoras, and ceramic figurines.

Ancient Temple to Apollo
Ancient temple to Apollo. These ruins are located in Corinth, Greece. (via Wikimedia)

Presently, Kristina Panayotova and her archaeology team are working hard to discover any more clues that may point to the location of the lost temple of Apollo. From what is reported in Ancient Origins, an uncovering of details of the ancient ruins as well as discovering more relics point them closer to their goal. Along with the pottery fragment, they discovered a late Archaic temple complex with altar, ancient Greek copper foundry, and an early Byzantine basilica and necropolis.

[Featured Image via Temple of Diana, Post Images via Wikimedia]