The ancient Greek city of Selinunte

8. Temple Selinunte Mid 7th BCE 060713MARSALA, SICILY, ITALY–During the afternoon the field party of the International Bryozoology Association drove south out of the Sicilian mountains back to the southern coast to visit the ruins of an entire Greek city founded in the 7th Century BCE and captured by the Carthaginians after a siege in 409 BCE. It is rare to have so much of an ancient city still in place. It was like being in Greece itself. Above is a partially reconstructed temple on the acropolis (a high worship center) opposite the city center across a valley.
9. Selinunte ruined temple 060713Next to the reconstructed temple are two other temples still in ruins. They are a wondrous tangle of columns and blocks.
10. Selinunte column runins Steve 060713Steve Hageman is standing by one of the largest toppled columns. We thought it looked a lot like a very, very large disarticulated crinoid column. (You may have to be a paleontologist to appreciate that viewpoint!)
11. Selinunte Agora destroyed 409 BCE 060713I hiked over to the remains of the agora, or administrative center. It is surrounded by a wall augmented by later inhabitants but still mostly original. It has a spectacular (and strategic) view of the sea.
12. Acropolis viewed from Agora 060713From the agora you can look back to the northeast and have the view of the acropolis temples that the inhabitants must have cherished. I very much like the style of some reconstruction amidst the dramatic and evocative ruins.

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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5 Responses to The ancient Greek city of Selinunte

  1. Christoph says:

    The crinoid-column is great, not only for paleontologists, but maybe also for paleoseismologists. It’s hard to imagine the forces that were needed to topple it. Selinunte is not only beautiful, but has also some nice geological story to tell, I wish I had been there!

    – Guidoboni et al. 2002: A Case Study in Archaeoseismology. The Collapses of the Selinunte Temples (Southwestern Sicily): Two Earthquakes Identified. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92 (8), 2961–2982.

    – Piro and Versino, 1995: Geological survey in the archaeological area of Selinunte. Annals of Geophysics, 38 (5-6), 893-906.

  2. Suvrat says:

    Mark- really enjoyed reading about your Sicilian adventure 🙂

  3. Mark Wilson says:

    Thank you very much, Christoph! You’ve added value and interest to our trip.

  4. Elyssa Krivicich says:

    Man, I am so jealous of your trip! Wonderful pictures!

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