1st Edition

Cave and Worship in Ancient Greece New Approaches to Landscape and Ritual

Edited By Stella Katsarou, Alexander Nagel Copyright 2021
    270 Pages 96 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 96 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Cave and Worship in Ancient Greece brings together a series of stimulating chapters contributing to the archaeology and our modern understanding of the character and importance of cave sanctuaries in the fi rst millennium BCE Mediterranean.

    Written by emerging and established archaeologists and researchers, the book employs a fascinating and wide range of approaches and methodologies to investigate, and interpret material assemblages from cave shrines, many of which are introduced here for the fi rst time. An introductory section explores the emergence and growth of caves as centres of cult and religion. The chapters then probe some of the meanings attached to cave spaces and votive materials such as terracotta fi gurines, and ceramics, and those who created and used them. The authors use sensory and gender approaches, discuss the identity of the worshippers, and the contribution of statistical analysis to the role of votive materials. At the heart of the volume is the examination of cave materials excavated on the Cycladic islands and Crete, in Attika and Aitoloakarnania, on the Ionian islands and in southern Italy.

    This is a welcome volume for students of prehistoric and classical archaeology,enthusiasts of the history of caves, religion, ancient history, and anthropology.

    1. Introduction: On Reading Caves and Ancient Greek Cult
    2. Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel

    3. The Dawn of Ancient Greek Cave Cult: Prehistoric Cave Sanctuaries
    4. Stella Katsarou

    5. Caves as Sites of Sensory and Cognitive Enhancement: The Idaean Cave on Crete Nassos Papalexandrou 
    6. Caves and Consumption: The Case of Polis Bay, Ithaca
    7. Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward

    8. Communities, Consumption and a Cave: The Profile of Cult at Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia
    9. Agathi Karadima 

    10. A River Ran Through It: Circulating Images of Ritual and Engaging Communities in a Cave in Aitoloakarnania
    11. Alexander Nagel 

    12. The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica: New Evidence for the Performance of Cult in the Historic Era
    13. Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari 

    14. The Face of Cave Rituals: Terracotta Figurines in Greek Sacred Caves
    15. Katja Sporn

    16. Approaching Cult and Ritual in Cycladic Caves
    17. Erica Angliker 

    18. Grottoes and the Construction of Cult in Southern Italy

             Rebecca Miller Ammerman


    Stella Katsarou is an archaeologist at the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology of the Greek Ministry of Culture. She has carried out fi eldworkin caves and prehistoric sites in Thessaly, the Peloponnese, the Aegean islands and, recently, Aitoloakarnania. She studies and writes about the functional, social, and ritual aspects of cave use and their material expression in prehistoric Greece.

    Alexander Nagel is Chair of the Art History and Museum Professions Program and Assistant Professor at the State University of New York, Fashion Institute of Technology, and a Research Associate in Residence at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

    The volume serves as a sturdy base for future cave explorations across the Mediterranean that will encourage fresh avenues of interpretation, but readers should be prepared for varying terms across chapters (“sacred caves,” “ritual caves,” etc.) that may or may not indicate the same ancient reality. While the study of Greek caves is not new, this book proposes the ongoing need for systematic cave studies, proves the continuing influence of survey and landscape archaeology, and reminds us that caves, their finds, and their diachronic human use, are a fundamental part of both the archaeological and religious heritage.

    Tyler Jo Smith, University of Virginia, Religious Studies Review

    The volume offers substantive contribution to the study of cultic cave sites and provides interesting avenues for future scholarship on the topic of Greek cave sites as places of cult practice.

    Alexandra Creola, ARYS: Antiquity, Religions and Societies