The columns of the largest reconstructed temple in Selinunte – Culture

SELINUNTE – Three of the 16-meter-tall columns of Temple G, the pride and joy of ancient Selinus, will be rebuilt in the Selinunte Archaeological Park. The sacred building, as large as a football field, represented 2,600 years ago the monumental proof in stone of the power and wealth of the glorious Greek colony founded by the men of Megara Hyblea. Strongly promoted by the late archaeologist Sebastiano Tusa, the restoration project for the columns of Temple G, archaeologist Oscar Mei of the University of Urbino told ANSA, will be the final step in a complex study plan. , restoration and creation of a museum financed by five million euros by the outgoing Sicilian government, thanks to the passionate commitment of the cultural adviser Alberto Samonà.

The project will last at least a year and a leading team of experts is already at work: alongside Mei, who has been working since 2010 in the excavation campaign of the Sicilian park, there is also the archaeologist Valerio Massimo Manfredi, the first to suggest a reconstruction project many years ago, and Claudio Parisi Presicce, who has extensive experience in the study of archaic Greek temples.

The large project “will always be open to the public,” said park director Felice Crescente. It will also require the contribution of other universities, given that with its 109 meters long and 50 wide, the building – thought according to the most recent hypotheses to be dedicated to Zeus – is considered the largest “peripheral” temple, i.e. with free columns, of the ancient Mediterranean. A marvel that after the conquest of the Carthaginiensium, earthquakes and centuries appears today as a huge pile of rubble. However, rebuilding a few columns could give it a very strong impact. “We are not aiming for the spectacular,” warns Mei, “it is not about rebuilding the temple, but rather a great scientific operation of research and preservation.” This has nothing to do for the moment with the reconstruction project supported in 2018 by Vittorio Sgarbi, then city councilor in Sicily, who had suggested the intervention of sponsors at a cost of 15 million euros in order to rebuild the entire temple.

It is true however, notes Mei, that a maintenance intervention over the years was fundamental, because “the architectural elements, made to support it, crumble on the ground”.

The implantation of a few columns on the south side, chosen from those that have remained the most intact with capitals, would have a conservation purpose, said the professor, even if “it would be a way of making the monument more understandable for visitors. “.

First will come the study, in particular on the archives, the bibliography and the iconography of the temple. In parallel, photogrammetric surveys will be carried out as well as those carried out with a 3d laser scanner to map the materials with which it was built. Then, geophysical work will be carried out around the temple, to see if there were other buildings, first the altar, then surveys of the land next to its perimeter. The area will also be cleared of vegetation. Councilor Samonà, who leaves office, said he was proud: “It will be a great site of knowledge”, he said, set up to allow visitors to follow the work closely with a multimedia corner for the virtual reconstruction of the temple.

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