Roman Sewer Excavation Unveils Ancient Pagan Statue

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James Lasher

When guys say that they are thinking about the Roman Empire when they have time to ponder the mysteries of life, this probably isn’t what comes to mind.

During an excavation in the ancient city of Heraclea Sintica, Bulgarian archaeologists discovered an unexpected treasure: a well-preserved marble statue of the Greek god Hermes.

The 6.8-foot-tall statue was uncovered in the remains of an ancient Roman sewer system. This remarkable find was made close to the Greek border in southwestern Bulgaria, an area rich in history and archaeological significance.

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Lyudmil Vagalinski, the lead archaeologist, explained the statue’s pristine condition. “Its head is preserved. [It’s in a] very good condition. There are a few fractures on the hands,” Vagalinski stated, noting that the statue is a Roman copy of an ancient Greek original.

Heraclea Sintica, founded between 356 B.C. and 339 B.C. by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, was a prominent city in the region now known as Pirin Macedonia. An earthquake in A.D. 388 caused significant damage to the city, leading its inhabitants to carefully place the Hermes statue in the sewer and cover it with soil, effectively preserving it for centuries.

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This statue’s preservation highlights a cultural transition in the city. Although Heraclea Sintica’s residents adopted Christianity following its establishment as the official religion of the Roman Empire, they still sought to preserve elements of their pagan past.


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

The city experienced a rapid decline following the earthquake and was ultimately abandoned around A.D. 500. The discovery of this statue provides a fascinating glimpse into the cultural and religious dynamics of the time.

This discovery reminds us of the singular truth proclaimed in the Bible: there is only one true God. As stated in Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.”

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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.


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