Archaeologists digging at the acropolis of Elea Velia have discovered a well-preserved ancient Greek helmet.
Elea-Velia, also known as Hyele, was founded by the Greeks around 538-535 BC on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in what is now the province of Salerno, Italy.
The city was known as a center of philosophy and learning, where Parmenides and Zeno of Elea lived, two prominent figures of the Eleatic school to which they belonged.
Archaeologists carried out excavations on the acropolis of Elea-Velia, where in 2022 a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Athena was discovered. Athena was an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, war, and crafts, often depicted wearing a helmet and holding a spear.
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The sanctuary was built following the Battle of Alalia, a conflict between the Greeks and the Etruscan and Carthaginian allies between 540 and 535 BC.
Excavations at the sanctuary revealed a well-preserved ancient Greek helmet, the third example discovered at Elea-Velia. According to researchers, the helmet was probably left as an offering to Athena following a battle or during a period of conflict.
Researchers also found the remains of a painted brick wall, perhaps an ancient form of the sanctuary, and polygonal blocks, a feature of ancient Greek architecture found at important sites such as Delphi.
Another notable find, researchers say, is the discovery of ceramics with the word “sacred” inscribed on them, further indicating the importance of the site.
In a press release, the Minister of Culture told the press that the discovery of a Greek helmet and inscription underlined the importance of investing in archaeological research to reveal “important pieces of history of the Mediterranean”.
Header image credit: Italian Ministry of Culture
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