The Thesmoforio was discovered on a plot of land of the modern settlement of Pella, while excavation work was being carried out for the construction of a building. It consists of a small enclosure in the earth, 10 m in diameter, which defined the sacred space, accessible by two sloping levels of descent, an altar in the center with overlapping layers of stones and clay and excavations in the floor, the "mansions" of Demeter, where bones of small pigs and sheep were found, related to the ritual of the festival of Thesmophoria. The find is unique and there is no analogue in a corresponding sanctuary in another region of Greece.
The Thesmoforia was an autumn festival held in honor of the goddess Demeter. patron of agriculture for the fertility of the harvest. It seems that three months before the festival of Thesmophoria, in which only women participated, the women threw into pits (megara) piglets together with their clay effigies as offerings, snakes and male genitalia effigies made of dough as well as pine branches. During the Thesmophoria, the pumpers went down to the sheltered areas and carried the remains of the offerings to the altars. These had magical properties and, if mixed with cereal seeds, ensured fertility in the fields at sowing.
This ritual is based on the myth of the abduction of the Maiden, according to which the pigs of the shepherd Eubuleus disappeared with her into the depths of the earth
The quantity of clay figurines found at Thesmophorio, which were made in a local mass votive production workshop, was impressively large.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou