An ancient statue of Hercules dating back nearly 2,000 years has been discovered in Greece. The sculpture was found as part of a building and is “larger than life,” according to Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports.
A team of researchers from Aristotle University was carrying out an excavation in the ancient city of Philippi when they uncovered an ornate building or fountain with special architectural decoration. The building dates back to the 8th or 9th century.
The building included a statue of Hercules that dates back to Roman times, or 2nd century. The Roman-era statues found in this area adorned buildings until the subsequent Byzantine period, according to the ministry.
Photos of the Hercules sculpture show it embedded under rock and dirt, and when it was excavated, parts of the statue were detached. The statue also included a club, which was found in fragments, and a lion hanging from the outstretched left hand, which were meant to symbolize a hero.
Hercules is one of the most famous figures from Greek mythology. He was born human, but with godly strength, and his father was Zeus, ruler of all gods and humans.
Philippi was the site where Mark Antony, the Roman general under Julius Cesar, and Augustus, who later became emperor, led a battle that killed Brutus and Cassius, who assassinated Julius Caesar.
The city was developed as a “small Rome” when the Roman empire was established decades later.
Thousands of years later, its remains lie in northeastern Greece. There is a theater and temple, Roman buildings like a forum, or court, and basilicas, which were built when Christianity was established in the city, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
CBS News has reached out to Aristotle University and the lead researcher on the excavation for more information and is awaiting response.