Archaeologists conducting excavations at the ruins of an early Christian church in Istanbul, Turkey, have made an intriguing discovery: a broken statue depicting the Greek god Pan.
The statue, depicting Pan with goat horns, a naked torso, and playing a reed pipe, was found within the remains of the sixth-century church of St Polyeuctus.
It is unlikely that a Christian church would have kept a statue of such a pagan god. Rather, archaeologists think the statue’s location is the result of a modern mistake.
In the 1960s, workers building a nearby road discovered the remains of the sixth-century church of St Polyeuctus by accident. After an excavation, archaeologists used backfill — earth used to fill holes and level ground — to cover up the ruins.
Mahir Polat, the deputy general secretary of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB), told Live Science it’s likely the statue was part of that backfill.