LE STATUE DI CASTRO IN MESSAPIA E LA SCULTURA TARENTINA DEL IV SECOLO A.C.
The recent discovery during excavations of the Athenaion of Castro of impressive limestone sculptures (a statue of Athena Iliaca and reliefs with peopled scrolls), attributable to craftsmen from Taranto, means that we can reappraise certain themes linked to the style and chronology of Tarentine art. Sculpted fragments discovered during the 2020 excavations make it possible to reconstruct a second statue, of the same size as the first (about 3.20 m high), with similar iconographic features. The discovery of these artifacts, along with other fragments of limestone and marble sculptures, makes the Castro sanctuary a unique case in the context of ancient Messapian settlements. This supposition is reinforced by the presence of an altar and a Greek-type sacellum, and by the divinity that was venerated there, which the existing epigraphical and archaeological evidence suggests was not worshipped in any other sites in the Salento peninsula.