Excavations in Jerash, Jordan, have yielded Roman sculptures of ancient Greek gods that historians and archaeologists have described as priceless. Excavations in al Hamamat site, a well known Roman location had been carried out for three years by an international archaeological team led by French experts.
Overall 14 large statues, some of which are intact while other have had their heads cut off have been discovered. Among the findings is a statue of Aphrodite which is almost intact, as well as a statue of Zeus. The discovery of statues depicting the ancient Greek gods are uniqe and exceptional in the Middle East, as such sculptures were only found in Greece and Rome, said Thomas Weber-Karyotakis, a professor in archaeology and also the head of the team in Jerash. The discovery was also described as significant and priceless by head of the Jerash Department of Antiquities Ziyad Ghuneimat.
Among the sculptures discovered in the three-year long excavation expedition were seven scultputres of the Nine Muses. Archaeologists fear that the two who were not found could be buried under modern buildings near the site.
Excavations are expected to last until November so archaeologists hope that the two missing Muses will turn up by then. The sculpture of Zeus will be displayed in the existing Zeus temple in Jerash and that of Aphrodite in the Jerash Museum.
Jerash authorities hope that the new discoveries will attract scholars and experts from all over the world, as well as tourists.