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A Votive Depot in Medma (Calabria). On the Production and Religious Use of Terracotta Figurines

DAI Rom, Fotothek (D-DAI-Rom-2011.3114)

In a large votive depot of the ‚Località Calderazo’, a sacred area of the Greek colony of Medma (modern Rosarno) in lower Italy, remains of about 600 terracotta figurines have already been found in 1912/13, whose original size must have been around half a meter. These ‚large figurines’ originated around 550-450 BC in the sphere of a workshop that at the same time produced the famous ‚locrian pinakes’. They are of an extraordinary worth for research because of their numerous characteristics such as their origin from a closed complex, their plastic quality and their composition from several hand- and model-formed pieces. By these characteristics, they recount the stylistic development of a more than regional extract of western Greek sculpture in a time of change from archaic to classical times. Also, the steps of production in the workshops as well as the use in the sanctuary can be reconstructed when considering their details of uncovering. All of this complicated the publication of the material. Based on the comprehensive records and studies undertaken by Peter Noelke in the 60s and 70s, the project aimed to confront the figurines with recent questions and to present them to the public.

This was soon realized on three different levels: Volume 32 of the journal Palilia covers the development and function of the terracotta figurines. Simutaneously, a comprehensive, new catalogue of the combination series that discusses the figurine’s data in technically related groups will be published online in the Arachne database. The datasets of each figurine is linked to the catalogue, which hold further information on every single object together with pictures.

Supervision: Dr. Daphni Doeppner


  • Zur medialen Funktion von Terrakottastatuetten in griechischen Heiligtümern: ein Befund in Medma (Rosarno), in: Ch. Frevel – H. von Hesberg (Hrsg.), Medien in Heiligtümern der Antike, ZAKMIRA 4 (Wiesbaden 2007) 311–347.
  • zusammen mit J. Schulz – A. Skolik, Terrakottafiguren aus Medma (Rosarno) und ihre digitale Präsentation in ARACHNE, KuBA 5, 2015, 259-268.
  • ‚Große Statuetten‘ in Medma (Kalabrien). Zur Produktion und sakralen Verwendung von Terrakotten aus dem ‚Calderazzo-Depot‘ (basierend auf den Vorarbeiten von Peter Noelke). Palilia 32 (Wiesbaden 2020); erweiterter Online-Katalog der ‚Kombinationsfolgen‘: