The Terracottas from the Sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis at Messene, Maria Spathi
During the course of the first Theban campaign in 370/369 B.C.E. Epameinondas founded the independent state of Messenia around a fortified settlement at the foot of Μount Ithome. The choice of this location was based on the potenetial of Μount Ithome as a fortification bulwark. But it also was a traditional place of worship, as the cult of Zeus Ithomatas at the summit of Μount Ithome can be traced back to before the foundation of the new city. On the south slope of Ithome two new sanctuaries were founded, the sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis and the so-called sanctuary of Eileithyia and the Kouretes. The sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis is located on the south-eastern flank of Μount Ithome, on a prominent rocky spur outside the urban area, but within the fortification wall. It is located at a distance of about 800 m as the crow flies from the Agora and 600 m from the Laconian gate, the city’s main gate to the east. Numerous finds came to light during excavations of the sanctuary, among which were many terracotta figurines. This paper briefly presents the site and the terracottas, which currently are undergoing study for a definitive publication; this also will included discussion of types of terracottas from the other excavated sanctuaries within the ancient city.