Thousands of votive offerings were deposited at Ortheia's sanctuary: ivories, bronzes, small terracotta figurines, lead figurines, and pottery. There were also many hundreds of ceramic masks showing strong Phoenician influence and themes possibly going back to the Babylonian Humbaba grotesques.
Jane Burr Carter, in "The Masks of Ortheia" (1987), traces these masks back to Phoenician ritual theater. She writes that this original context shows that "the deities associated with masks are a female fertility goddess and her consort." She identifies the goddess as Tanit, or as she is called at a Lebanese shrine at Sarepta, Tanit Ashtart. This shrine contained such masks as well as female statuettes playing hand drums, carved ivories, lamps, and beads.
Burr Carter writes that the masks are also connected to "an Aegeanized goddess on Cyprus and Astarte in Palestine and Cyprus." She provides evidence for the spread of asherah pillars to Cyprus, as shown on pottery and vase-paintings. (The original temple of Aphrodite at Paphos had three pillars as the holy of holies.) She proposes that the Spartan sanctuary of Ortheia was founded by Phoenicians.
"Ortheia received dedications of nude terracotta figurines. Her cult had close ties to the worship of the birth-goddess Eileithyia." Images of animals were offered to her, including "sheep, goats, lions, deer, bulls, horses, geese or ducks, eagles, dolphins, fish..." Burr Carter quotes Greek sources about Spartan women's dances called barullika, as well as a custom of men putting on "ugly" female masks.
American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 91, No. 3, pp. 355-380