West News Wire: Greek god Eros riding a dolphin and terracotta bull heads have been found during excavations in southern Italy, shedding new information on the religious practices of an ancient city, according to authorities from the cultural ministry on Saturday. 

It is the first collection of items from a shrine at Paestum, an ancient Greek city that was founded in the fifth century B.C. While farther down the Almalfi coast than Pompeii, Paestum is renowned for its three enormous Doric-columned temples. 

The little temple was discovered for the first time in 2019 along the ancient city walls, but excavations were put on hold because of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to a statement from the Italian Culture Ministry. 

Excavations yielded several small terracotta figurines in the first months of resuming work, the Ministry said. Archeologists found seven bull heads found around a temple altar as if placed there on the ground in a form of devotion. 

A dolphin statuette found in the first trove of artifacts appears to be from the Avili family of ceramists whose presence had never before been documented in Paestum, the statement said. 

Limited excavations began at the temples in the 1950s, and the ministry believes more treasures can be found in the area. 

Ancient Romans controlled the city by around 275 B.C., renaming it Paestum from the Greek “Poseidonia,” in what had before been Magna Graecia. 

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