The gods were lovers, so it’s fitting their statues were close.
According to Greek mythology, the deities Aphrodite and Dionysus had a grand love affair. So, perhaps it’s fitting that archaeologists found the ancient statuary heads of the goddess of love and the drunk reveler near each other during a dig in the ancient city of Aizanoi, in western Turkey.
The discovery of the deities’ heads helps top off a previous find; on an earlier dig, archaeologists found the statues’ headless bodies, Gokhan Coskun, an archaeologist at Kütahya Dumlupınar University in Turkey and the excavation coordinator, told Anadolu Agency, a Turkish state-run news organization.
“These are important findings for us, as they show that the polytheistic culture of ancient Greece existed for a long time without losing its importance in the Roman era,” Coskun said. “The findings suggest that there may have been a sculpture workshop in the region.”
The ancient city of Aizanoi has a rich history filled with ancient Greek and Roman period settlements. Its earliest settlement dates to the second millennium B.C., but many of its remaining ruins date to the Roman Empire, including its Roman baths, Zeus temple and macellum, or Roman indoor market. Aizanoi is listed as a “tentative” World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Archaeologists found the Roman-era heads of Aphrodite and Dionysus buried in a creek bed in the ancient city. Each head is made of limestone, with Aphrodite’s head measuring 19 inches (50 centimeters) and Dionysus’ head measuring 17 inches (45 cm) tall, according to the news site GEO. It’s unknown how the statues’ heads became separated from their bodies.
Previously, archaeologists in Aizanoi uncovered the statue of Hygieia, a goddess of health, cleanliness and hygiene, according to GEO.