Visitors of Medma Archaeological Park can wander through an ancient olive grove that still preserves the traces of a Greek city, Medma, a majour outlet to the Tyrrhenian Sea of Locri Epizephirii, its motherland.
Of particular relevance are its evident relationship with the river Mesima and the remains of the places of worship and necropolises, now kept in the Museum within the Park.
Medma, also called Medama, was founded by the inhabitants of Locri to ensure an outlet to the Tyrrhenian Sea for their goods without having to sail through the Strait of Messina, which was controlled by the Regginians.
Medma: a Short but Eventful History
A couple of important events mark the course of its short history, between the 6th and 4th centuries BC: first Medma separated from Locri to join its rival Croton; then its population was deported by Dionysius of Syracuse.
What is certain is that in Roman times there were mostly rural settlements in this area, which is flat and washed by the river. Later on, there being no control over the mouth of the river Mesima, the whole area turned into wetland, which was reclaimed only at the end of the 18th century.
Medma Museum and Archaeological Park in Rosarno
The Archaeological Park of ancient Medma is located in the municipality of Rosarno. Excavation campaigns have been conducted here since the end of the 19th century. Following systematic investigations, significant traces of daily life, such as roads, residential buildings, as well as a sacred area and necropolises have been brought to light again. The finds of these excavations are currently exhibited in the Museum attached to the Park.
The exhibition starts with a reconstruction of the various types of tombs. Next, the rich votive offerings from the sacred area are on display, arranged as if on a road leading to a small sacrificial altar depicting a scene from a Sophocles tragedy. The exhibition is completed by vases from the Gangemi collection, including an amphora depicting the dispute over Achilles’ weapons.
Central to Medma’s culture was the cult of Persephone. As the daughter of Demeter, she was the goddess of agriculture, as well as the goddess of the underworld, since she was the wife of Hades.
This goddess with a mysterious and profound cult had been imported directly from Locri, where the worship of Persephone was a fundamental feature of the city. Numerous artefacts refer to it: highly fascinating terracotta images with their enigmatic smiles evoke arcane worlds nobody can remain indifferent to.