Marble Statue of Hermes Uncovered in Ancient Roman Sewer

A marble statue of Greek god Hermes has been uncovered in an ancient Roman sewer in the Bulgarian village of Rupite.

Standing nearly 7 feet tall, the well-preserved statue was found during excavation work at the former city of Heraclea Sintica. Despite its size, Bulgarian archaeologists believe it was carefully buried.

Located near the Greek boarder, Heraclea Sintica was founded by Philip II of Macedon between 356 BCE and 339 BCE. The city was later destroyed by an earthquake in 388 CE. Not long after, Heraclea Sintica rapidly declined before it was abandoned altogether in 500 CE.

Hermes was a known as a messenger to the gods in the Ancient Greek pantheon. Around the time of the earthquake, the statue may have been placed in the sewer, experts believe. It is unclear, however, if this was done in an effort to preserve the ancient deity or as a symbolic rejection of pagan practices, which had fallen out of favor due to the rise of Christianity.

“Its head is preserved,” Lyudmil Vagalinski, who led a team of archaeologists from Bulgaria’s National Archaeological Museum, told CNN. Vagalinski described the statue, a Roman copy of a Greek original, as being in “very good condition. There are a few fractures on the hands.”

“Everything pagan was forbidden, and they have joined the new ideology, but apparently they took care of their old deities,” he said.

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