On its own, the marble fragment is modest – the size of a child’s backpack.
It shows a right foot draped with diaphanous fabric. The foot belongs to the goddess Artemis, and is part of the monumental 158 metre (518 feet) Ionic frieze depicting mortals and gods of ancient Greece on the inner layer of the Parthenon temple in Athens.
The marble piece has spent decades in the Antonino Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum in Palermo, Sicily. In a landmark deal this week, it was sent to Greece in exchange for an ancient statue and an amphora.
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