Archaeologists in northern Israel may have unearthed a sanctuary of the Greek god Pan in the ancient city of Hippos.Excavations by the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa have uncovered a monumental Roman gate, which may have led to a compound dedicated to the worship of Pan, the god of flocks and shepherds, who is depicted as half man and half goat in Greek mythology.The new archaeological find may help researchers better understand previous discoveries in the ancient city.
Last year, the archaeologists discovered a bronze mask of Pan, which is unusually large compared to other such bronze masks of the Greek God that date from the same period. The researchers had said that efforts to date the item or explain the function of the mask would be difficult. [The 7 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]With the recent discovery of the gate, Michael Eisenberg, head of the expedition, said that the researchers now have a starting point that will help them look for answers.
“Now that the whole gate has been exposed, we not only have better information for dating the mask, but also a clue to its function,” Eisenberg said in a statement. “Are we looking at a gate that led to the sanctuary of the god Pan or one of the rustic gods?”The mask was found in the remains of a large stone building, and the archaeologists hoped that uncovering the rest of the building would offer context about the mask’s origins.Based on what they found in the excavation, the researchers estimate that the original gateway was about 20 feet tall, and that the entire building was likely even taller. They’ve also dated the building to the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian, who reigned from A.D. 117 to A.D. 138.
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