The larger-than-life statue of a young Hercules, dated to the 2nd century C.E., was uncovered at a site formerly known to be the ancient city of Philippi, located the country’s northern region by researchers at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AuTH). The team was led by Natalia Poulos, a professor at AuTH, in collaboration with her colleagues there Anastasios Tantsis and Emeritus Professor Aristotle Menzos; 24 students (18 undergraduates, 3 postgraduates and 3 PhD candidates) also took part.
Scholars working on the excavation believe the artifact was once used to adorn a building dated to the late Byzantine period in the 8th or 9th century C.E. Researchers believe the original figure while still in intact was designed holding various objects: a wreath, a lion skin, and a club, the latter of which was found at the site. All of these are traditional signifiers associated with the Greco-Roman hero.
In a statement from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, which oversees projects related to cultural heritage, said that the excavation will continue into next year.