Italy: Temple of goddess of virgins, wild animals, unearthed
Rome, 16 Nov. (AKI) - An almost 2,000 year-old Roman temple dedicated to Diana, the goddess of virgins and wild animals, has been unearthed in a protected park in the Italian region of Tuscany.
The ancient religious sanctuary, found in the Maremma national park is 350 square metres large, and was discovered in perfect condition by a team of Italian and other European archaeologists following a two-year dig.
Traditionally, Diana is known as the 'virgin' goddess charged with protecting women. According to mythology, Diana, along with goddesses Minerva and Vesta, swore to never marry, but the goddess is also associated with wild animals and nature, and so bears a second title of 'Diana, goddess of the hunt.'
The temple, which has some seven internal rooms, also contained several items that were unearthed during the dig including 35 oil lamps, 10 coins, a bronze dog-shaped votive, two glass vials and mosaic decorations. Three statues of Diana and her twin brother, Apollo, were also uncovered.
The temple dates between the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD.