Archaeologists have unearthed two altars from an ancient Nabatean temple submerged underwater on the seabed of Pozzuoli, located in southern Italy. These altars are believed to have once stood at the heart of Puteoli, a bustling commercial port in the region.
According to the researchers, the remains of the underwater temple are likely from the first half of the 1st century A.D. These altars bear a striking resemblance to a larger altar discovered in the same area back in 1965. Notably, the base of one of the altars bears the inscription “DVSARI SACRVM,” which translates to “sacred to Dusares.”
Dusares, the principal deity of the Nabatean pantheon, was a god exclusive to this ancient religion. The top portions of the altars discovered in the underwater temple contain votive niches that were originally used to house beryls. These small sacred stones served as representations or effigies of the gods.
It is worth noting that the Nabatean pantheon was an aniconic religion, meaning it did not incorporate any figurative representations of its deities.
The discovery of the underwater temple sheds light on the Nabatean pantheon’s reliance on standing stones and cultic stelae as representations of their revered deities. These newly found altars add to the growing collection of Nabatean-related artifacts in this submerged region, bringing the total to five. It is highly probable that further remnants lie scattered across the seabed.
While the existence of this Nabatean temple had been previously acknowledged, its precise location remained elusive until now. The recent findings provide a definitive answer and offer the possibility of gaining deeper insights into the interactions between the Nabatean people, local inhabitants, and traders in the area.
Discoveries of this nature never fail to ignite excitement, particularly as researchers persist in their quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding legendary sites like Atlantis. The underwater temple serves as yet another testament to the ancient world that once thrived, reminding us of the rich history that humans once traversed.