Temple of Demeter

Located in the Acropolis on the eastern hill, this is a temple with pilasters (in antis), that is to say, it consists of a simple cell preceded by a pronaos with two columns. The base (30.20m x 13.30m), consisting of a grid of blocks of tufa stone in longitudinal sections, the cell’s exterior walls and the wall dividing the cell and the pronaos, have all been preserved. The remains of the cell are embedded in the structures of the medieval church of San Biagio, which dates from Norman times and which lends its name to the locality. Certain fragments of the entablature’s ghéison with mutuli in two rows of six drops have been discovered, as well as elements of a stone sima with beautiful lion-headed spouts, which are currently on exhibition in the museum. The style and the architectural data of these elements support the conclusion that the temple dates from the 480-460 B.C.
The building was part of a sacred precinct whose northern boundary was excavated in the rock of the hill. During excavations carried out in 1926, two small, round altars were discovered between this building and the temple. One of the altars contained a central cavity (bothros) that was found to be filled with ritual vessels typical of the cult of Chthonic gods. This discovery, along with others, such as the finding of fragments of clay busts depicting Demeter and Persephone, confirmed the sanctuary’s dedication to the Goddesses of the Earth, which had been worshipped in Akragas, as in all southern Sicily, from a period prior to the 5th century B.C.