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Macedonian dig turns up ancient Venus marble

Archeologists digging at a site near Macedonia's capital city Skopje announced on Thursday their recent discovery of an ancient statue of Venus, goddess of love.
An archaeologist checks out a sculpture recently unearthed at an archaeological site northwest of Skopje, Macedonia's capital, on Wednesday. ((Boris Grdanoski/Associated Press))
Archeologists digging at a site near Macedonia's capital city Skopje announced on Thursday the recent discovery of an ancient statue of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

"The smoothness of the marble and the beauty of the statue give us the clue that this masterpiece came from one of the best artistic schools in the Mediterranean," archeologist Marina Oncevska said.

According to archeologists, the Venus sculpture dates from the second or third century and appears similar to other pieces from that era currently displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

The figure, which has been named the Shy Goddess of Venus, depicts Venus shyly covering her breasts and groin, with a dolphin engraved on her leg.

The statue will be examined by conservationists before eventually being placed on display at the Museum of Skopje, the team said.

The archeologists have been excavating the site — the ruins of Skupi, northwest of Skopje — since March. Thousands of objects have been discovered during the excavation process, which is slated to end later this month.

With files from the Associated Press