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Saronic Gulf, Aigina, Greece
The Temple of Aphaia or Afea is located within a sanctuary complex dedicated to the goddess Aphaia on the Greek island of Aigina, which lies in the Saronic Gulf.
It stands on a circa 160 m peak on the eastern side of the island approximately 13 km east by road from the main port.
Aphaia was a Greek goddess who was worshipped exclusively at this sanctuary. The extant temple of circa 500 BC was built over the remains of an earlier temple of circa 570 BC, which was destroyed by fire circa 510 BC. The elements of this destroyed temple were buried in the infill for the larger, flat terrace of the later temple, and are thus well preserved. Abundant traces of paint remain on many of these buried fragments.
There may have been another temple in the 7th century BC, also located on the same site, but it is thought to have been much smaller and simpler in terms of both plan and execution.
Significant quantities of Late Bronze Age figurines have been discovered at the site, including proportionally large numbers of female figurines (kourotrophoi), indicating – perhaps – that cult activity at the site was continuous from the 14th cent. BC, suggesting a Minoan connection for the cult.
The last temple is of an unusual plan and is also significant for its pedimental sculptures, which are thought to illustrate the change from Archaic to Early Classical technique. These sculptures are on display in the Glyptothek of Munich, with a number of fragments located in the museums at Aigina and on the site itself.
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