Authorities in Italy have announced the discovery of an ancient Greek statuette underwater off the coast of Southern Italy.  The announcement was made at a press conference in the town of Taranto. The item was found off Cape San Vito at a depth of 15 metres.

The statuette is 80cm tall and portrays the goddess Aphrodite. She is probably leaning against a now lost pillar and is removing her sandal, while holding something in her other hand, perhaps an apple or a ball of makeup. The artefact was inspired by a famous statue of the Hellenistic period which had been copied many times after its initial construction, although the exact original is a matter of dispute among scientists. Perhaps the copies were made after a late 3rd century BC bronze statue by Polymachos, although there are others who believe that it was created in a workshop in Alexandria.

The statuette was discovered by a diver and is not part of a shipwreck as it had been reported. The diver who found the statue says he also spotted a vase nearby, so further exploration of the area is planned to search for more antiquities.