Demeter and Persephone – The Morgantina Acroliths. 6th century BCE. Wood, with Thasian marble heads, hands, and feet, wire, and French linen. Display created by Marella Ferrera. Photography by
Darice Wareham for the Boston Globe, 2014. Archaeological Museum,
Aidone, Sicily, Italy.
An acrolith is a composite statue made of stone and other materials, such as wood or cloth. The Morgantina Acroliths were looted from an archaeological site in eastern Sicily in 1979 and sold to a collector. In 2002, the collector agreed to give the acroliths to the University of Virginia. In a deal approved by Italian authorities, the University was permitted to keep the sculptures for five years, and they were returned to Italy in 2008.
The religious center in Morgantina focused on worship of Demeter and Persephone. The abduction of Persephone by Hades was believed to have taken place on the shores of nearby Lake Pergusa.
NOTE: Did anyone else think it interesting that the name of the town where these statues now reside is Aidone?