Treasures in Larissa

While Antiquities Ephor Athanassios Tziafalias was at the Culture Ministry on Monday and preparing to speak about the discovery of a marble statue of Artemis found south of the stage of Larissa’s ancient theater, news came through of yet another discovery. A monumental marble stairway that took the spectators to the theater had been found. The dig had uncovered more than 600 pillars. The headless statue of Artemis was discovered in the area where researchers were digging for the ancient theater. Artemis, a Thracian deity whose cult reached Attica, was sometimes worshipped in caves. «But she was identified with the Hellenistic period and with Dionysus, and was connected with ancient theaters and performances,» the ephor explained. The statue was found behind the stage, in a layer of more than 60 column drums, Doric pillars and an expanse of marble pieces estimated to stretch more than 140 meters. Among the columns were pieces of marble with inscriptions, 100 of them so far, that shed light on the history of Larissa and the surrounding area. Artemis is depicted in a short chiton with what looks like a deerskin on top of it. The animal’s foot seems to be resting on her right breast. Behind her right shoulder is an opening for the quiver. The ancient theater of Larissa was built during the reign of the Macedonian King Antigonus Gonatas in the early 3rd century BC. Initially the theater had only a limestone stage and an arcade behind it, with limestone pillars.