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This caked-up Roman statue is sending shockwaves through archeology

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Roman marble statue of an absolute god (in more ways than one) preserved in rare condition. Despite ancient attempts at destruction, this statue has an a** that, even two millennia later, refuses to quit.

Over the weekend, archeologists uncovered the nearly 7-foot tall statue of the Greek god Hermes waiting face-down-a**-up in the ancient city of Heraclea Sintica (southern Bulgaria, near the Greek border). Excavators promptly placed a hard hat over the head—presumably to protect the marble from falling debris and definitely NOT as an induction to the Village People, where the statue belongs.

Although the ancient city was destroyed by an earthquake in the mid 300s CE, the statue—a Roman copy of a Greek original—is notable for how well preserved it is.

“Its head is preserved,” Lyudmil Vagalinski, leader of the excavation team, told Reuters. “(It’s in a) very good condition. There are a few fractures on the hands.”

This statue survived when so many others have been lost to the sands of time because it had already been buried in an ancient sewer. Likely, this was during a period of iconoclasm, when the newly converted Christian government sought to bury Rome’s pagan past.

“Everything pagan was forbidden, and they have joined the new ideology, but apparently they took care of their old deities,” he said.

A butt like that could lead anyone to question their faith. But could burying it have caused divine retribution in the form of a natural disaster? It wouldn’t be the first time a booty made the whole town quake.

In an ironic twist, the Christians who buried the statue ensured it would be one of the few artifacts in the city to survive. Now it’s here to inspire an entirely different kind of worship in a new generation.

Despite this statue’s more prominent feature, Hermes was often represented with an erect phallus. In addition to acting as divine messenger, Hermes was the god of boundaries—including life and death, which led to an association with fertility. Like many Greek gods, Hermes also had a number of male lovers, including mythic hero Perseus. Hermes and Aphrodite eventually coupled and gave birth to Hermaphrodite, the goddess combining both the male and female that came to symbolize (albeit, now as a slur) intersex people.

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