In what is considered to be one of the richest finds in recent years, an archaeological team has found thousands of miniature clay pots and statuettes in the ruins of an ancient sanctuary near the town of Orchomenos in central Greece. Excavations revealed the pottery offerings – dating from the early 5th century BC up to at least the 3rd century BC – in a shrine to presumed fertility deities. The shrine had sustained damage during the construction of an irrigation canal in the 1950s. Archaeologists found thousands of votive offerings, including miniature vessels, animal idols, scarabs and lamps. «The identity of the deities worshipped there is not yet clear, but it is certain that they were goddesses associated with plant growth and fertility,» the Culture Ministry said. It said a famous sanctuary of the Three Graces – deities of growth and beauty – was known to have stood in ancient Orchomenos, and one of the offerings was inscribed with the name of Eurynome, mother of the Graces.