Initial speculations about a massive water tank submerged at the bottom of the sea left many scratching their heads. However, the truth behind this watery mystery is far more intriguing — a tale steeped in history and artistry.
Residents in the San Leone region of Sicily, Italy, had long been aware of a large object resting approximately 30 feet deep off the coast in the Sea of Agrigento. Maps labeled it as a "vasca," Italian for "tank."
Yet, a team of intrepid scuba divers resolved to dive deeper into this enigma. Through a series of dives in October 2022, they meticulously pieced together a three-dimensional representation of the object.
The cultural organization BCsicilia recently unveiled the truth: it was a fragment of the temple of Zeus, hailing from the ancient city of Agrigento. Lifted from the depths that very day, the artifact astounded onlookers.
According to a Facebook post by BCsicilia, the section is crafted from marble and depicts a majestic prancing horse. Standing at approximately five feet tall and six feet wide, its architectural style bears resemblance to other Greek temples.
The post suggested that it likely served as a marble front decoration, with the marble itself identified as "almost certainly… Proconnesian," indicating an age of at least 2,500 years.
Sources such as the GoHistoric website say that it may have originated from a quarry in present-day Turkey before being transported to Greece, possibly for the purpose of holding coffins.
The intriguing question remains: how did this ancient artifact find its way beneath the waves? Alas, this puzzle may forever elude us.
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In the meantime, the pressing concern revolves around the preservation of this invaluable marble treasure. Reports from the Miami Herald indicate steps are already being taken to ensure its conservation.
Agrigento, situated in southwest Sicily, boasts a rich history dating back to the 500s B.C., as UNESCO's World Heritage Convention stated.
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Formerly known as Akragas, the city was a prominent Mediterranean hub adorned with temples in the Doric architectural style. According to a video produced by Japan's NHK network, a "valley of temples" graces the outskirts of the modern city, perched atop a hill.
Despite the passage of time, many temples still stand, albeit buried beneath orchards and fields. Those that endure boast columns soaring as high as 90 feet.
Today, modern Agrigento is home to nearly 60,000 residents, as per the Encyclopedia Britannica, a testament to the enduring legacy of this storied city.
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