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Table of contents :
Table of contents
1 Introduction: On reading caves and ancient Greek cult
2 The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult: Prehistoric cave sanctuaries
Mycenaean cave cult
Circumstantial cave rituals in the third and second millennia bce
Farming village communities: The background
Neolithic worship (in) caves
3 Caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement: The Idaean Cave on Crete
The Idaean Cave as a Wunderkammer
The surrounding environment
The Idaean Cave as a physical and artefactual religious space
4 Caves and consumption: The case of Polis Bay, Ithaca
Polis “cave”: Geology and topography (by Chris Hayward)
Activity in and around the Polis “cave” sanctuary
Change and continuity in material behaviour
5 Communities, consumption, and a cave: The profile of cult at Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia
Feasting at the Drakaina Cave
Miniaturization of vases and figurative terracottas
Artemis at Drakaina and Kephallonia
6 A river ran through it: Circulating images of ritual and engaging communities in a cave in Aitoloakarnania
The Paracheloitis and beyond: A landscape explored
Engaging with figurines in an Aitoloakarnanian cave sanctuary
Feasting with friends and the community: Interpreting ceramic containers in an Aitoloakarnanian cave
Products of the sea
Roof tiles, textiles, and beyond
Engagements at Paianion: Caves, crafts, wilderness, and an analytical approach
7 The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica: New evidence for the performance of cult in the historic era
The cave and its divinities
Worshippers at the Cave of Pan
Ritual activity within the cave
8 The face of cave rituals: Terracotta figurines in Greek sacred caves
Appearance and distribution of terracotta figurines in caves
Types and iconography
Function of the terracotta figurines: Votives or ritual objects?
Find contexts and actual state of terracotta figurines in Attic caves
A view beyond Attica
Terracotta figurines: Single or multiple use and display?
9 Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves
Caves and cults in the Cyclades: An overview
Artificial caves: Delos
Caves at open sanctuaries: Amorgos
Caves outside the Polis: Thera, Siphnos, Naxos, Antiparos, Pholegandros
10 Grottoes and the construction of cult in southern Italy
Grotta Porcinara, Leuca
Grotta della Poesia, Rocavecchia
Monte Papalucio, Oria
Grotte delle Fontanelle, Garaguso
Considerations on the character of the cult
Sites at Greek poleis
Sorgente, Satyrion (Taras)
Considerations on the character of the cult
Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii
Comparisons between the cults at Grotta Caruso and Sorgente
Considerations on the character of the cult
The conceptual cave
Cave and Worship in Ancient Greece
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 first 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 first 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 figurines, 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. Stella Katsarou is an archaeologist at the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology of the Greek Ministry of Culture. She has carried out fieldwork in 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.
Cave and Worship in Ancient Greece New Approaches to Landscape and Ritual Edited by Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel
First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-85916-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-01576-5 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Newgen Publishing UK Visit the eResources: www.routledge.com/9780367859169
List of illustrations List of contributors Acknowledgements 1 Introduction: On reading caves and ancient Greek cult
vii xiv xvii 1
S T E L L A K AT S A RO U A N D A LEX A N D ER NAG EL
2 The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult: Prehistoric cave sanctuaries
S T E L L A K AT S A RO U
3 Caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement: The Idaean Cave on Crete
NASSOS PAPAL EX A N D RO U
4 Caves and consumption: The case of Polis Bay, Ithaca
C AT H E RI N E MO RG A N A N D C H R I S H AY WA R D
5 Communities, consumption, and a cave: The profile of cult at Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia
AG AT H I K ARAD I MA
6 A river ran through it: Circulating images of ritual and engaging communities in a cave in Aitoloakarnania
AL E XAN D E R NAG EL
7 The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica: New evidence for the performance of cult in the historic era J ORG E J. B RAVO I I I A N D A LEX A N D R A MA R I
8 The face of cave rituals: Terracotta figurines in Greek sacred caves
K AT JA SP ORN
9 Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves
E RI C A AN G LI K ER
10 Grottoes and the construction of cult in southern Italy
RE B E C C A M I LLER A MMER MA N
Figures 1.1 1.2 2.1 2 .2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13
View of the Ionian Sea from Varasova Cave in Aitoloakarnania. Photograph: K. Bakolitsas 2 View of the entrance into Limnes Cave near Vonitsa in Aitoloakarnania. Photograph: K. Bakolitsas 7 Caves with ritual activity as discussed in the text. Map: T. Anker 18 Interior of Corycian Cave. Photograph: F. Mavridis 20 Ashy layer of the Mycenaean period on top of the prehistoric stratigraphic sequence at Skoteini Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson 20 Decorated Mycenaean pottery from Skoteini Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson 21 Geometric and Classical pottery from Skoteini Cave. Photographs: A. Sampson 22 Entrance of Kastria Cave at present (above), and during excavation in 1993 (below). Photographs: Author; A. Sampson 23 Pottery of Mycenaean period from Kastria Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson 24 Mycenaean figurine from the Cave of Nestor. Photograph: A. Sampson 25 Geometric and Classical pottery from the Cave of Nestor. Photographs: A. Sampson 26 Middle Bronze Age coarse vessel with perforated body (left), and bowl fragment with incised decoration (right), from Ayia Triada Cave, Boeotia. Photograph: Author 28 Ossuary of Middle Bronze Age period during excavation at Kastria Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson 30 Theopetra rock (above) and cave interior (below). Photographs: Author 36 Left: Excavation of a Neolithic ossuary inside Alepotrypa Cave in 1971. After N. Lambert, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 96, 1972, 852, fig. 7. Right: Neolithic domestic
viii List of illustrations installations (with reconstructed pots) inside the first chamber. Photograph: S. Spyropoulos 2.14 Food serving basin, storage vessels, relief pithos, and perforated coarse bowls from Neolithic burial and domestic contexts at Alepotrypa Cave. Photographs: Author 2 .15 Neolithic bowls decorated with weaving-inspired motifs from Cyclops Cave. Photographs: Author 2.16 The island of Youra from the south in the background of sea straits and southern islets of the Sporades archipelago. Photograph: A. Sampson 3.1 View of Idaean Cave from the east end of the plaza in front of it. Photograph: Author, June 2004 3.2 Herakleion Archaeological Museum. Bronze disc from Idaean Cave: Embossed decoration depicting Zeus and daemons with cymbals. Photograph: Author, October 2019 3.3 View of the mouth of Idaean Cave, the rock altar in the foreground. Photograph: Author, June 2004 3.4 Survey plan of Idaean Cave, including the trenches, spoil heaps, and position of the rail tracks used in the excavation seasons 1983–88. After Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 124, fig. 83. Reproduced by permission of the Archaeological Society at Athens. Redrawn by T. Anker 3.5 Longitudinal section of Idaean Cave, along its E-W axis. After Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 128, fig. 90. Reproduced by permission of the Archaeological Society at Athens. Redrawn by T. Anker 3.6 Herakleion Archaeological Museum. Display case with a small selection of finds from Idaean Cave. Photograph: Author, October 2019 4.1 Cave shrines and beach cult deposits in the central Ionian islands and neighbouring areas (beach deposits in italics). 1: Koudounotrypa (Arta); 2: Paliambela (Vonitsa); 3: Alyzeia (Drymon); 4: Ag. Nikolaos (Astakos); 5: Mastro; 6: Asvotrypa (Phryni); 7: Karyotes (Taxiarches); 8: Choirotrypa (Apolpaina); 9: Langada (Kavalos); 10: Boliatso (Kavalos); 11: Chortata; 12: Ag. Kyriaki (Nidri); 13: Choirospilia; 14: Cyclops Cave (Meganisi); 15: Limonari; 16: Marmarospilia; 17: Piso Aetos; 18: Brosta Aetos; 19: Polis “cave”; 20: Drakospilia; 21: Gravaris; 22: Melissani; 23: Zervati; 24: Koulourata; 25: Drakaina. Map: G. P. Milani 4.2 Above: Geological map of the Polis bay site and adjacent areas showing the location of the fault and cliff in Pantokratora limestone. Redrawn by C. Hayward from Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME), Geological Map of Greece, 1:50,000, Ithaki and Atokos
38 39 40 41 52 54 57
List of illustrations ix
4.3 4 .4 4.5
5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8
Islands, Athens, 1985. Below: View of the site showing features described in the text. Illustration: C. Hayward View of the Pantokratora limestone cliff and beach showing scar from fallen slabs, the position of slabs on the beach, and locations of the fault and flysch. Illustration: C. Hayward Polis “cave”: Ceramic finds by century. Graph: C. Morgan Polis “cave”: Functional analysis of ceramic assemblages of the Late Bronze Age (sample size 422), Transitional (372), Early Iron Age (444), and eighth century bce (309), with a representative selection of shapes. Graphs and photographs: C. Morgan Above: Plan and section of the BSA excavation at Polis. Reproduced by permission of the BSA. Below: Ancient blocks in the ruins of Loizos’ house at Kalyvia. Photograph: C. Morgan Polis “cave”: Functional analysis of ceramic assemblages of the long Archaic (late eighth-early fifth century bce) (sample size 639) and Classical periods (135), with a representative selection of shapes. Continuing shapes (e.g. transport amphorae) are included in Archaic totals. Graph and photographs: C. Morgan Polis “cave”: Functional analysis of ceramic assemblages of the Hellenistic (sample size 639) and Hellenistic-Middle Roman periods (135), with a representative selection of shapes. Graph and photographs: C. Morgan The four ancient poleis of Kephallonia. Map: T. Anker. Based on Randsborg 2002, Vol. Ι, 16, fig. I.1 Above: The geographical setting of the Drakaina Cave near Poros. Below: View to the gorge and the sea from the cave. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Drakaina Cave, with excavated areas highlighted. Plan: Th. Chatzitheodorou. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Drakaina Cave: Drinking cups (upper two rows) and miniature pottery (lower two rows). Photographs: Author Drakaina Cave: Protome (a) and relief plaque (b) representing Dionysos; (c) Pan figurine. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Drakaina Cave: Dancing groups of various types. Photographs: Author Drakaina Cave: Dancing group (a) and dancing figure (b). Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Drakaina Cave: Female protomai depicting women of different age and status. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology
73 74 76
86 94 95 96 97 99 102 103 104
x List of illustrations 5.9 6.1 6 .2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6 .8 6.9 6.10 6 .11 6.12 6.13 6.14 7.1 7.2
Drakaina Cave: Masked protomai (a–d) and protomai depicting Artemis (e–f). Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Aitoloakarnania: Mastro and sites discussed in this essay. Map: T. Anker Mastro Cave: Entrance situation. Photograph: S. Katsarou Mastro Cave: Staircase and descent. Photographs: A. Darlas Mastro Cave: Assemblage of figurine fragments. Photographs: Author Mastro Cave: Bow-holding figurine type. Photograph: Author Mastro Cave: Fragment of black-figure vessel depicting a warrior figure and a white-skinned goddess with a spear. Photograph: Author Mastro Cave: Fragment of red-figure painting. Photograph: Author Mastro Cave: Relief bowl fragments. Photograph: Author Mastro Cave: Assemblage of miniature lekythoi, krateriskoi, and kotyliskoi. Photographs: Author Mastro Cave: Kotyliskos with edible food offer. Photograph: Author Mastro Cave: Assemblage of lamps. Photographs: Author Mastro Cave: Molluscs offerings. Photograph: Author Mastro Cave: Tile fragment. Photograph: S. Katsarou Mastro Cave: Bone fibula. Photograph: Author Extant caves dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs in Attica. Map: T. Anker The Cave of Pan, Marathon, with natural features and archaeological trenches. Plan: Th. Chatzitheodorou, 2016. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Fragmentary figurine of Pan, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology Kantharos rim fragment with graffito, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology Fragmentary herm figurine, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology
105 117 118 119 120 122 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 132 132 145
List of illustrations xi 7.6
8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7
Fragmentary figurine of a seated female, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology The Cave of Leibethrian Nymphs on Mount Helicon: Entrance down left on the vertical cliff. Photograph: S. Katsarou. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology Paliambela Cave, Vonitsa. Figurine complex depicting dancers in a circle. Photograph: S. Katsarou. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Paliambela Cave, Vonitsa. Pinax depicting Pan with Nymphs. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Eleusis Cave: Pan’s head with holes. Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, Inv. No 7082b. Photograph: Author Vari Cave: Figurine with traces of burn on the backside. Athens National Archaeological Museum, Inv. No. 23032. Photograph: Author View of the Phthiotis plain from the entrance of Ambouria Cave on the northeastern slopes of Mount Parnassos. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Ambouria Cave: Small collection of figurines. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Ambouria Cave: Enthroned female terracotta figure in situ. Photograph: P. Kounouklas The Cycladic islands with the location of caves and sites discussed in the text. Map: The Diakron Institute Artificial cave on Mount Kynthos, Delos. Photograph: Author Entrance of the cave near the sanctuary of Dionysos, Amorgos. After Marangou 2002, 261, fig. 598. Reproduced by permission of the Archaeological Society at Athens Exterior of the cave at Siphnos, featuring a stalagmite rock inscribed with the word ΝΥΦΕΩΝ. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology Irakleia caves. Left: Entrance view of Cyclops Cave. Right: The interior of Aghios Ioannis Cave. Courtesy F. Mavridis View of the way leading to the Cave of Zas, Naxos, with Cycladic islands on the background. Photograph: Author Zas Cave, Naxos: View of the entrance with modern door. Photograph: Author
170 171 174 176 177 178 178 179 190 191 193 195 196 197 198
xii List of illustrations 9.8 9.9
9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7
View of the bay of Aghios Georghios from the way leading to Antiparos Cave. Courtesy The Diakron Institute 199 The eighteenth-century church of Aghios Ioannis Spiliotis (St. John of the Cave) in front of the seventeenth-century church of Zoodochos Pighi under the rock of the cave’s entrance. Photograph: Author 200 Antiparos Cave. Left: View of the entrance. Photograph: Author. Right: Descent to the cave and the 201 ancient fill. Courtesy F. Mavridis Antiparos Cave: Natural decoration and part of the ancient fill (down right) inside the main chamber. Photograph: Author 201 Antiparos Cave: Stalagmite column with modern inscriptions. Photograph: Author 202 Chrysospilia Cave: Graffiti on ceiling and wall. After Vasilopoulou 2018, 342, fig. 3 206 Caves and grottoes with evidence for ritual practice from the Iron Age or later periods. Map: M. Holobosky 215 Plan of sanctuary with reconstruction of eschara at Grotta Porcinara, Leuca. After Mastronuzzi 2005, 69, fig. 14 216 Reconstructive image of rites practiced during Archaic period inside cave at Monte Papalucio, Oria. After Mastronuzzi 2013, 224, fig. 171 219 Terracotta figurine of female holding piglet from Grotte delle Fontanelle, Garaguso. After Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 391, fig. 44, n. 459 222 Marble statue of female figure from oikos of sanctuary at Sorgente, Satyrion. After Lippolis et al. 1995, pl. 29.3 226 Sanctuary at Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. After Costabile 1991, 235, fig. 363 229 Votive plaque showing three-headed herm of the Nymphs and statue of Euthymos as human-headed bull from Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria, Inv. No. 110. After Costabile 1991, 199, fig. 321 230 Votive terracotta showing Silenos reclining in grotto with votive terracottas in niche from Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria, Inv. No. 151. After Costabile 1991, 160, fig. 259 232 Votive terracotta model of grotto from Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. After Costabile 1991, 72, fig. 122a 233
List of illustrations xiii 10.10 Reconstructive photo-montage and drawing of votive plaque of Nymph dancing with Pan from Metaponto. Drawing: M. Barretta. Photo-montage: C. Raho 10.11 Reconstruction of mold series portraying Nymph from Metaponto. Photo-montage: M. Holobosky
Overview: Terracotta figurines in Attic caves. Table produced by the author
Rebecca Miller Ammerman is the Roy D. and Margaret B. Wooster Professor of the Classics and Chair of the Department of the Classics at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Her research involves the material evidence for the practice of cult in Magna Graecia with a special focus on the dedication of terracotta figurines and reliefs. She is the author of The Sanctuary of Santa Venera at Paestum II: The Votive Terracottas (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2002) and has published significant studies on assemblages of terracottas from Metaponto, such as “Terracottas,” in The Chora of Metaponto 7: The Greek Sanctuary at Pantanello, eds. J. C. Carter and K. Swift (Austin, TX, University of Texas Press, 2018, 1087–1392). She is currently the director of excavations at the Temple of Athena as part of the North Urban Paestum Project. Erica Angliker is currently a member of the Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is co-editor of the volume Cycladic Archaeology and Research: New Approaches and Discoveries (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2018, ed. with J. Scully) and has published extensively on culture and religion in the Cyclades. She is a member of the excavations at Despotiko and is currently preparing a monograph on cults and sanctuaries in the Cycladic islands. Her research interests include the study of ancient environments, cults in caves, archeomusicology and maritime travel logs. Jorge Bravo is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Maryland at College Park. His research interests include the archaeology of Greek religion, athletics, gender, and sexuality, and he has engaged in archaeological fieldwork in Italy at San Vincenzo al Volturno, and in Greece at the Athenian Agora, Kommos (Crete), Nemea, and most recently Kenchreai, the eastern harbour of ancient Corinth. He is the author of Excavations at Nemea IV: The Shrine of Opheltes (University of California Press, 2018), and several articles and essays on hero cult, curse tablets, and sympotic vase painting. From 2013 to 2018 he co-directed the American Excavations at Kenchreai, and since 2013 he has collaborated with the Ephorate of Palaeonthropology– Speleology of the Greek Ministry of
Contributors xv Culture to study the historical material excavated from the Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica. Chris Hayward is a research fellow at the School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. He has since 1993 worked on the exploitation of stone in antiquity and landscape evolution associated with archaeological sites. He has published on stone-working and landscape evolution in the Corinthia, Sikyonia, and Ithaca, including chapters in Corinth XX: The Centenary (Princeton, NJ, American School of Classical Studies, 2003), Sikyon I (monograph from the Sikyon Survey Project, forthcoming), and Isthmia VIII: The Late Bronze Age Settlement and Early Iron Age Sanctuary (Princeton, NJ, American School of Classical Studies, 1999). He has recently completed research for the Danish Institute at Athens project “Finding Old Sikyon” and currently directs the Kenchreai Quarry Survey –an archaeological study of quarrying and landscape at Kenchreai, Corinthia. Agathi Karadima earned her PhD in the Department of History, Classics, and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her dissertation discusses patterns of cult in caves in western Greece with a focus on materials excavated in Drakaina Cave on the island of Kephallonia. She participated in archaeological fieldwork at Vergina, Pella, Karabournaki, Aiani, and Athens. She held a Greek Archaeological Committee fellowship, and has been involved in projects that integrate archaeology, archaeological GIS, and archaeological databases in collaboration with the Laboratory of Geophysical- Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo- environment, Institute of Mediterranean Studies, Rethymnon, Crete, and the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology of the Greek Ministry of Culture. In her research, she focuses on gender in archaeological assemblages, material and nonmaterial identities in western Greece, and trade relations in the central Mediterranean. Alexandra Mari is an archaeologist and speleologist at the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology of the Greek Ministry of Culture. She earned her PhD from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Her main research interest focuses on the Neolithic period. She has conducted intensive surface field surveys and rescue excavations in the caves of Attica, the Argo-Saronic Gulf and Kythera, results of which have been or are about to be published. From 2012 to 2019 she directed the excavations at the Cave of Pan and the Cave Oinoe IV at Marathon, Attica. Catherine Morgan is a senior research fellow of All Souls College and Professor of Classics and Archaeology in the University of Oxford. She is the author of Isthmia VIII: The Late Bronze Age Settlement and Early Iron Age Sanctuary (Princeton, NJ, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1999), and Early Greek States Beyond the Polis (London, Routledge, 2003). She has published on Early Iron Age ceramics, especially
xvi Contributors in the Corinthia and the central Ionian islands. In addition to directing the publication of research of the British School at Athens in northern Ithaca, she collaborates with the University of Crete and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas on the Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago Survey, and the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology on Leukas and Meganisi. She is currently writing a monograph entitled Histories in the Central Ionian Islands. Nassos Papalexandrou is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. He received a PhD from Princeton University, and has taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has participated in fieldwork projects in Cyprus, Crete, Naxos, and Athens, and held fellowships at the Center for Hellenic Studies and CASVA in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Visual Poetics of Power: Warriors, Youths, and Tripods in Early Greece (Lanham, MD, Lexington Press, 2005), and Brazen Monsters and the Cultures of Wonder: Griffin Cauldrons in the Preclassical Mediterranean (University of Texas Press, forthcoming). He has published articles in scholarly journals such as Hesperia, American Journal of Archaeology, Hephaistos, and Journal of Modern Greek Studies. His research focuses on material and visual culture of Greece and the Mediterranean before the Classical period. In 2017, he held an NEH fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens researching antiquities, politics, and diplomacy between Greece and the USA after World War II. Katja Sporn is Director of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Athens since 2014. Her work focuses on sanctuaries, funerary art and settlement analysis, especially on Crete and in ancient Phocis. She is currently directing the DAI excavations at Kalapodi (Phthiotis), and co-directing (with P. Kounouklas) the Topographical Investigations in the Kephissos Valley Project. She has studied Classical Archaeology, Philosophy, and Ancient History at Heidelberg University, in London and Athens. She was responsible for scientific matters at DAI Athens from 2000 to 2002, and was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Archaeology, University of Cologne between 2002–2006, Lecturer and Curator of the Archaeological Collection at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg between 2007–2010 and Professor of Classical Archaeology in the Department of Classical Studies at the Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg, Austria, between 2010–2014. She is the author of Heiligtümer und Kulte Kretas in klassischer und hellenistischer Zeit (Heidelberg, 2002), and co-editor of Natur, Kult, Raum: Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums, Paris- Lodron- Universität Salzburg, 20.– 22. Jänner 2012 (Wien, Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut, 2015).
Many people and institutions supported us in our journey of editing this volume. We are grateful to them all, especially the authors in this volume. Most of the essays collected here were first presented at the Archaeological Institute of America’s 116th Annual Meeting in Boston in January 2018, on a panel entitled “New Approaches to Cave and Worship in the Ancient Mediterranean.” This book contains three additional essays (by S. Katsarou, J. Bravo and A. Mari, E. Angliker) not presented then. The professionalism and dedication of all contributors and collaborators to this project have resulted in this volume. We are grateful to those who encouraged us to publish the proceedings. We are indebted to Matthew Gibbons, Routledge Editor for Archaeology, and Editorial Assistant Kangan Gupta, who guided us so well through the editorial process. We are grateful to the Archaeological Institute of America which supplied travel funds for Stella Katsarou to support her attendance at the conference, and to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and New York University for hosting a meeting in Washington, D.C. a few months before. Alexander Nagel is very grateful for the friendship and inspiration he constantly receives from colleagues and friends in Greece, particularly all colleagues and friends he made in Aitoloakarnania. Thank you to those who supported his first trips to this place, and made him love this one special region of the western Greek mainland. Franziska Lang and Lazaros Kolonas, thank you. Thank you for inspiration and friendship to colleagues and friends like Lina Makradima, Giorgos Stamatis and so many friends made in Stratos, Agrinio, Messolonghi and beyond. Alex would like to thank the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology of the Greek Ministry of Culture for a very kind invitation to participate in an exciting new research project in Aitoloakarnania, his students and colleagues at the State University of New York’s F.I.T. and the Department of Anthropology in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and family and friends who listened, gave advice and are a constant source of inspiration. Stella Katsarou would like to thank the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology for providing the facilities and means for new research on the caves
xviii Acknowledgements of Aitoloakarnania after work by Miranda Hatziotis in the 1990s. Miranda’s discoveries, iconic excavations, and comprehensive analyses of votive materials have been a marked contribution to the archaeology of ancient cave shrines and western Greece. Stella is grateful to Miranda Hatziotis for her encouragement and advice. Stella owes special thanks to the Director of the Ephorate, Andreas Darlas for his support and invaluable insights into ways of approaching and studying cave landscapes and human connections through them. She is grateful to her colleagues Yorgos Valvis, who has co-directed fieldwork, Vassilis Giannopoulos, Nelli Skoumi, Lakis Kontrolozos, Alexandros Mavrakis, Giota Gioni and Sia Tzalla for support of one kind or another. The unexpected discovery of the ritual deposit at Mastro Cave in 2015 has motivated a systematic survey in the region, which revealed evidence of past human activity in a large number of new cave sites including rock shelters, cave pits, caves with lakes, and many other forms. More importantly, it highlighted with more emphasis the great potential of cave research for the study of relations between humans and the landscape in prehistory and antiquity. This perspective already generated new research analysis in the GIS project for Aitoloakarnanian caves, developed in collaboration with Apostolos Sarris and the GeoSat ReSeArch Laboratory of IMS-FORTH, Crete. Stella would like to extend her thanks to the Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas, the British School at Athens for permission to study comparative material from their projects, Catherine Morgan and Agathi Karadima for sharing the vision that Aitoloakarnania is a promising emerging terrain in cave archaeology, local administration, educational institutions and individuals in Messolonghi, especially Yorgos Matsikas, Konstantinos Katsaros, and Athanasios Spyropoulos. Stella is particularly indebted to Kostas Bakolitsas, biologist, whose activity in cave ecology has contributed invaluable information to archaeology. Some of his art photographs have been selected for this book to highlight the beauty of cave landscapes in Greece. Finally, she thanks Spyros Tzevelekis, Nefeli, Orfeas and Electra, who have done so much for her, while this book was coming together. Both editors have put their efforts to make sure that use of copyright material was appropriately acknowledged. They particularly thank Thomas Anker who supplied graphics and maps. Finds from caves in Greece are among the oldest and most evocative evidence of our shared cultural heritage. We hope that the essays and approaches presented will be of benefit to students as well as professionals working to honor and preserve these precious places.
1 Introduction On reading caves and ancient Greek cult Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel
This volume found its inspiration in contributions presented in a colloquium organised by the two editors at the 116th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Boston in January 2018. The aim of the colloquium was to introduce, reflect upon, and stimulate new research and map out previously untapped paths in identifying aspects of worship and cult in the ancient Greek cave landscape archaeology of the first millennium B C E in the broadest sense. Despite the bitter cold winter storm, the Boston session turned out to be a great success. It brought over 120 attendants together, demonstrating a great interest in our topic and the promising speakers, thus encouraging us to present their ideas and contributions in an edited volume. The contributions introduce manifold interpretations of activities related to cult and worship in caves during the first millennium BCE. The authors cover a wide range of material and employ various methodological and anthropological approaches to cave shrines, particular religious places and central theme in this volume, helping us understand religious activities, networks and community experiences, and ritual in cave spaces from several sites in the Aegean, including the Cycladic islands and Crete, the Greek mainland, the Ionian islands, and in southern Italy. The contributions discuss material-and practice-oriented aspects of cave cults based on archaeological evidence. Moving away from past approaches that introduced selected ritual accessories with religious, literary, and mythological connotations, this volume sets the research agenda on less featured and prominent cave shrines that functioned in the Greek rural countryside and on their communal, social, economic, and sensorial sides. It turns out that local cave shrines and their ritual traditions reflect, and maybe also affect, the reproduction of social and political relations within the polis. The inquiries raise a lot of further questions. How can we make sense of material expressions of ritual and cult in a single cave context and across cave shrines that represent different scales of cult activity? How did the materials function in the hands and minds of the worshippers in a local, regional, and temporal context? And, can we trace the local circumstances of the ritual settings and relevant formalised practices, and how they developed and changed across time and space? The contributions in this volume reveal a broad spectrum of aspects archaeologists can infer of cave cults in ancient Greece and Magna Graecia, that were altogether merging and co-dependent, including cultural and material
2 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel
Figure 1.1 View of the Ionian Sea from Varasova Cave in Aitoloakarnania. Photograph: K. Bakolitsas.
Introduction 3 diversity and technology, sustenance of ceremonies, consumption and feasting, sensory experience and landscape impact, liminality, performance and votive deposition practices, formalisation in human relations, social identities, and the adaptation of traditions inherited from prehistoric societies. The contributions aim to update current research on cave sanctuaries in theoretical and methodological terms and widen our understanding of the spatial and temporal perspectives of ancient cave cult. Overall, they aim to situate the ancient Greek cave shrine on the forefront as an independent and important source of archaeology, providing insights to the practical, behavioural, and social aspects of worship and their relation to the ancient Mediterranean environment. While ambitious and more systematic scholarly research on Greek caves of the first millennium BCE reaches back to the nineteenth century, in recent years, cave archaeology, as a modern discipline of cave exploration, has greatly benefitted from new data and stimulating publications.1 There is the striking quantity of evidence. With more than 10,000 cave sites on the mainland and the islands, of which more than 2,000 preserve evidence of human use in various periods, and remarkable new discoveries every year, Greece offers a fertile and spectacular ground for discussion of the various aspects of cave utilisation and rituals through time. Most of the caves are of karst origin, which is due to the extensive limestone geological bed of the country. By their nature, caves can vary from rock shelters and shallow cavities, usually appearing on eroded cliffs and littoral zones, to very deep and complex horizontal and vertical subterranean chambers manifesting rich natural decoration by speleothems and active water resources around dripping stalagmites, lakes, or even rivers.2 Caves inspire us like an ethereal light piercing into a dark abyss (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). Exploring caves has been a common practice since the beginning of humanity, and in many ways, all contributors to this volume follow our ancestors’ curiosity about hidden things in these spaces. Caves represent the subconscious and a poetic, romantic, and philosophical source.3 Modern cave archaeology has no beginning, unless we argue that it became part of the “scientific revolution,” which gained momentum during the nineteenth century. In folklore traditions, the cave was constructed as a place for monsters, fairies or brigands. Early on, caves attracted scholars and travellers to the Mediterranean with their physical beauty,4 animated with the imaginary archaic caveman or the ancient visitors whose names were occasionally found inscribed on the cave rocks. At the onset of a growing scientific approach in archaeology in the late nineteenth century, caves were pursued for their historical context, then placed within the frame of the Homerian narrative, as shown, for example, by German Heinrich Schliemann’s endeavours in the Cave of Nestor in Pylos in the Peloponnese,5 or Choirospilia on the island of Leukas.6 Meanwhile, caves emerged as ancient sanctuaries and became privileged places for research undertaken by great pioneers. On Crete, outstanding votive deposits including pottery, terracottas and bronzes were discovered at various caves (Idaean, Psychro, Kamares, Arkalochori) around that time,7 contributing to the establishment of the notion of the Cretan divine grotto. Josef Hazzidakis conducted rescue diggings in looted cave sanctuaries of the island and secured
4 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel ritual objects from the hands of collectors and looters. In the early twentieth century, Greek caves gradually began to acquire significance owing to the material evidence of the range of activities undertaken by the prehistoric communities and ancient settlements nearby. The remarkable cave complex at Vari in Attica, also known as the Nympholept Cave, revealed rock inscriptions about the Nymph-possessed man who established it in the fifth century BCE , and exciting votive objects in the excavations that took place in 1901.8 Many of the finds are on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, reflecting the display of early discoveries of cave ritual deposits in the modern museum context. A visit to the cave of Vari is still popular among archaeology enthusiasts. More ancient cave shrines were discovered in the following decades,9 including the Pitsa Cave in Corinthia with its extraordinarily well preserved painted plaques of wood depicting a procession to sacrifice.10 In the 1930s, Sylvia Benton sailed into the bays of the western Greek mainland and the Ionian islands to explore caves: “I went first…”, she writes about climbing up to the “yawning black cave-mouth in the precipice of limestone” at Astakos, Akarnania.11 Spyridon Marinatos excavated further inside the labyrinthine cave shrine at Arkalochori on Crete around that time. Edith Eccles conducted fieldwork in the two caves of Aghio Galas on Chios, and Adalbert Markovits surveyed thousands of cavities on the coasts of Attica.12 As more caves were excavated throughout the early decades of the twentieth century, scholars of Greek religion became aware of possible meanings and their importance for life in the ancient polis and borderlands.13 By the second half of the twentieth century, research on caves increased radically as diachronic history sites, whose thick stratified fills and occupation sequence could reveal cave- based activities, with an embedded value transcending past societies through time in an intensive and transgenerational course. After excavations in caves in the 1950s, including work conducted by Ioannis Papadimitriou in Attica and Carl Blegen again in the Cave of Nestor in Pylos,14 some key cave projects were launched in the 1960s and 1970s in Epirus and in the Franchthi Cave in the Argolid by international research groups,15 and in Alepotrypa Cave in the Mani by the local antiquities office.16 They introduced interdisciplinary paradigms and motivated a wave of extensive and systematic research and new inquiries. In this context, cave research in Greece enjoyed much excitement, which translated into a growing number of publications, and the consequent classification and taxonomic efforts generated by the wide range of material assemblages documented. A key moment for research on ancient cave shrines, specifically, was the excavation and subsequent publication of the famous Corycian Cave near Delphi initiated by the French School at Athens: over 16,000 vessels, 50,000 figurine fragments, and many other materials attest to the importance of this cave in understanding the sacred landscape of first millennium BCE Phokis.17 This new wave of extensive and more systematic cave research and their fresh theoretical and methodological concerns (and also the imminent need to ensure cave heritage protection) have also generated certain institutional changes in the national scheme of heritage preservation in Greece, which involved the
Introduction 5 establishment of the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology in the 1970s, as a special office within the Ministry of Culture, to be responsible for cave protection, development, and interdisciplinary research supervision.18 This proved to be the start of a prolific period of cave archaeology in Greece which, in the 1980s and 1990s, saw a multiplication of the number of sites and cave assemblages documented. A series of state-sponsored cave field projects with a regional focus and a landscape perspective (e.g. Dodecanese, Euboea, Boeotia, Mani, western Greece) were interdisciplinary and addressed questions about patterns of prehistoric cave use and ancient cave rituals in new areas and the wider cave landscape.19 The field of prehistoric research immensely benefitted from more organised and systematic approaches to cave archaeology in the first place, by broadening the essential cultural and chronological perspectives to include technological, social, and behavioural concerns for the communities of hunter gatherers, early farmers, and pre-urban societies.20 In the context of classical archaeology, new emblematic shrines in caves have provided an array of material data ranging from inscriptions on cave walls21 and boulders to affluent dedications of terracotta figurines, vases, lamps, metalwork, votive miniatures, jewellery, glass, astragaloi, alongside containers, and tools of mundane use. Within the wider theoretical frameworks introduced by prehistorians, classical archaeology has also benefited and updated its cultural and classificatory approaches to cave material appropriately, in order to explore other aspects of cave use such as religious behaviour, small-and large- scale interaction between cave and non-cave communities and the social context. This material, practical and economic profile of ritual performances in caves is not only in dynamic interrelation with the wider religious system of principles and performances in open-air sanctuaries. It also interacts with social life and the broader political and civic establishment. Therefore, the prism of materiality simultaneously illustrates a holistic rather than specific picture of rituality in caves, one that is mutually interdependent with non-material aspects of the ritual context, may them be historical circumstances, social principles, cultural identities, religious beliefs, or mythologies among others. In doing so, ritual action in caves appropriates the wider agendas of sociopolitical action and thought rather than operating in isolation. Ceremonial contexts in ancient cave shrines cannot be read as transparently expressing certain religious systems or reflecting sociopolitical orders within the polis-states.22 In contrast, it emerges − in agreement with current theoretical trends in religious studies − that ritual practices may be actively creating or contesting political and social identities and structures. Our volume sets off from this point and aspires to expand and stimulate ideas on the materialisation of repeated ritual action in the landscape and its diverse social identities. Beyond the specificities, the phenomenon of cave cult in ancient Greece emerges, in principle, at the point of contact of two essential constituent parts, that is, religious rituals and cave space. Within a wider framework, this phenomenon is also about implementation religious ceremonies in nature and about shaping and defining cult activities outside settled territories, urban centres, and polis sanctuaries. It is also about the construction of place-sensitive institutions in nature,23 powerful ritual heterotopias and evocative places, dominating in
6 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel various ways through alternating experiences and mystical encounters in nature, and symbolic displacements that are pursued outside the realm of the town. As the entanglement of these two features − ancient worship on one side, cave and nature on the other − emerges, this book hopes to explore a particular and fascinating ground of material engagements where circumstances and all sorts of types and scales of patterning encompassed by ancient rituals are redefined and reformed under the critical impact exerted by the landscape of caves. The contributors to this volume are confident that their work will have an impact to stimulate more research on Mediterranean cave sanctuary archaeology. How can we move beyond introducing find assemblages in a culture-wise catalogue form, and include exciting theories and new methods when interpreting the materials in our work? Which disciplines should we engage with, and what key techniques do twenty-first-century students of cave archaeology have to learn and understand? Our reasons to introduce new work on Greek cave sanctuaries are multifold. First, cave archaeology benefits from knowing no national boundaries, and researchers on caves in the Mediterranean must be aware of the developments and trends in cave research worldwide. Maintaining the dialogue between work performed on Greek cave sanctuaries and other regions and scientific directions will keep stimulating new research paths. Cave archaeology is being integrated in the archaeology of other cultures and regions, too.24 Secondly and potentially of more importance is that Mediterranean archaeology in general has benefitted from refined methodologies and new theoretical approaches in recent years,25 all of which require a contextual-driven standard approach. Cave shrines are not immediate proxies of other sociopolitical realities, and are not constructed through an autonomous process. Geology, zooarchaeology, dietary, and environmental studies have now become part of contextually driven cave research.26 At the same time, and while the corpus of excavated cave sites in Greece is dramatically increasing,27 scholars of Greek religion have used analysis of contextual and circumstantial situations to promote an understanding of the ways religious matters were deployed in cave sanctuaries.28 Contextual narratives from cave rituals speak to wider Mediterranean archaeology. It is time to include more cave archaeology case studies in these directions, and, as some contributions in our volume indicate, an archaeologist excavating and publishing a cave site with first millennium BCE context cannot neglect recent theoretical work on urbanism or gender studies, religion or social studies in general, neither can they neglect the material assemblages from cemeteries or sanctuaries in the polis or wider trends discernible in the material record, as cult manifests itself in myriad ways.29 In addition, linguists and those working on ancient Greek texts have contributed in many meaningful ways and have tackled the metaphoric use of caves in much detail.30 We believe that cave archaeology − Greek cave archaeology, in particular − matters. After all, a more serious engagement with caves in the sacred Mediterranean ritual landscape ensures that the public understands the importance of cave heritage and the protection of often-looted caves. It matters that caves are protected by law. The fresh look at the archaeology of caves that we take here is further enhanced by the challenges promised by future fieldwork. A closer look at the
Figure 1.2 View of the entrance into Limnes Cave near Vonitsa in Aitoloakarnania. Photograph: K. Bakolitsas.
8 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel field signals that the potential of the current corpus of cave sites and assemblages is much broader, however, than the current picture shows: it excludes a range of resources such as the large number of caves, which have never been investigated; the many investigated caves that do not preserve their initial deposits because of heavily erosional processes or human disturbance; and the caves that have not been adequately reported. For example, recent fieldwork on the western Greek mainland has increased the number of known caves in one region,31 locating unknown cavities, rock shelters, and caves with lakes and galleries, attesting to diachronic human use. Recent surface surveys in the peninsulae of the southern Peloponnese demonstrated that prehistoric use is not at all limited to the known impressive cave of Alepotrypa and a couple of few more cave sites. It is in fact very densely distributed over the large number of coastal caves formed on the sea front cliff and the impressive number of inland caves.32 These are only two cases from active fieldwork that hint to the wide research potential that cave archaeology still holds for all time periods and Greek regions, which we would regard as intriguing as the prospects of outdoor archaeology. The present volume’s emphasis on integrating new sites, methods, and theories reflects the degree to which archaeological studies of ancient cave shrines have developed and expanded over the last twenty years. In preparing this volume, we asked our contributors to reflect on new research directions in the field of cave rituals. The contributors to this volume belong to institutionalised cave research (Katsarou), Art History and Classics departments in North America and the United Kingdom (Ammerman, Bravo, Karadima, Morgan, Nagel, Papalexandrou), and other institutions affiliated with longstanding research in Greece for many years (Hayward, Sporn). In her contribution “The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult: Prehistoric cave sanctuaries,” Stella Katsarou addresses systematic cave cult in the Greek mainland and the Aegean on earlier pasts and its relation to changing social and political institutions. In a long-term perspective, she explores the trajectory of transformations that constructed traditions of cave rites in these contexts, thereby setting the ground for the next chapters. Katsarou contextualises approaches to cave archaeology of the first millennium BCE within this framework. Nassos Papalexandrou explores the idea of caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement in the Greek landscape. The theoretical turn towards an archaeology of the senses expressed in recent years,33 including ideas around sound, has rarely been applied to the field of cave archaeology.34 Papalexandrou argues that it can help us understand aspects of sound and cognition in an ancient Mediterranean cave. In his contribution “Caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement: The Idaean Cave on Crete” Papalexandrou explores innovative strategies and new ways of thinking about cavescapes by discussing space and the synaesthetic experience of ancient pilgrims on the island of Crete between the ninth and seventh centuries B C E . Following earlier and more traditional approaches to understanding caves of Crete,35 Papalexandrou’s contribution will be welcomed by anthropologists and those interested in applying an archaeology of the senses alike.
Introduction 9 In “Caves and consumption: The case of Polis Bay, Ithaca” Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward integrate comprehensive landscape-formation studies in the analysis of a ritual deposit for accessibility, economic distribution, and practicalities in food consumption. In this sense, their contribution assesses the ritual signification of a geological fissure by ancient visitors against their symbolic perception of a cave space, focusing on a popular early Iron Age site on the island of Ithaca. Morgan introduces an ambitious research project that aims to reassess earlier excavated materials housed in the museum at Stavros on the island. Within the new research programme, Morgan compares previously unstudied material groups, such as amphorae, cooking, and kitchenware from the “cave” site discussed with find assemblages from contemporary settlements in a local and regional context to explore choices for certain landscapes and consumption practices. The next three chapters explore opportunities and challenges in identifying aspects of cult, gender, and community performance from assemblages of votive objects excavated in cave shrines. In her contribution “Communities, consumption, and a cave: The profile of cult at Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia,” Agathi Karadima approaches large find assemblages from the Archaic to Hellenistic periods through a gender-focused perspective and the diversity of votives. Following gender-focused perspectives now established in archaeology, Karadima shows that there is an opportunity to apply such methods in the cave context, too. Is it then possible to understand better articulations of gender and religion among the ancient communities of the island of Kephallonia?36 No cave is like another, and each site presents its own challenges while offering exciting new opportunities for the researcher. In “A river ran through it: Circulating images of ritual and engaging communities in a cave in Aitoloakarnania,” Alexander Nagel introduces ongoing research on a recently excavated find assemblage from a cave site near the important Acheloos River on the western Greek mainland. Excavations at Mastro Cave in 2016 offer an ideal opportunity to employ ideas from anthropology and landscape perspectives to understand circulation of ritual technologies and interaction of cult economy with the landscape along the largest river of the Greek mainland, in a region which has received increasing research attention in recent years.37 Jorge Bravo and Alexandra Mari introduce ongoing research in “The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica: New evidence for the performance of cult in the historic era.” In 2014, the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology embarked on a new field project to clarify contextual evidence that came from old excavations in 1958 in caves over the inland area of Marathon. The new project revealed evidence for the introduction of the worship of the Arcadian god Pan to Attica in the fifth century B C E and the inauguration of a flourishing cult that lasted well into late antiquity. Material and epigraphic evidence suggests that Artemis, Hermes, and Cybele may have also been worshipped there. Additionally, the nature and distribution of the finds allow discussion of how ancient worshippers utilised and experienced different parts and features of the cave, and give evidence for the variety of participants in the cult and the concerns that brought them to the sacred site. The new finds
10 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel enrich our knowledge about function and ritual character of cave shrines in Attica.38 In recent years, new emphasis has laid the ground for exciting new research on the interpretation of terracotta figurines in ancient Greek ritual and religion.39 Katja Sporn, in her chapter “The face of cave rituals: Terracotta figurines in Greek sacred caves” invites us to study assemblages of figurines in caves asking: Are some types of figurines broadly specific for cults or confined to cave worship? Were figurines connected to rituals of washing, painting, and dressing, as marble statues were? How long were the figurines on display? Even though it might not be possible to answer all these and other questions posed by the author, Sporn invites us to consider the diverse faces of figurines and their deposition in evocative spaces as perspectives that lay the ground for fruitful directions in future research. The Cycladic islands have always held a privileged place in the literature on Greek religion. Home to some of the most important Panhellenic sanctuaries, in recent years, research has benefitted from new archaeological discoveries at sites such as Despotiko and Kythnos. Although much effort has gone into better understanding the dynamics of sanctuaries on the Cycladic islands, caves have barely been explored by scholars of religion. In “Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves,” Erica Angliker presents an overview of caves on the islands focusing on the evidence for cults between the Archaic period and Roman times and assessing literary and epigraphic evidence in relation to specific material deposits. Angliker considers caves in relation to the regional and supra-regional islandscape and within the context of various religious and cult networks operating on different levels, both local and inter-islands. The volume concludes with a contribution by Rebecca Ammerman. Ammerman leads us to a different geographic region at the heart of the ancient Greek world and one where research in recent decades improved our understanding of the long story of ritualisation of local caves considerably.40 “Grottoes and the construction of cult in southern Italy” is an overview of recent work on cave sanctuaries, materials, and ritual action, allowing the reader to understand local specifics of cave cults and even aspects such as the relationships between new settlers and indigenous populations during the time of Greek colonisation. Ammerman’s contribution also discusses cave shrines in the context of larger sanctuaries, and allows the reader to compare and identify patterns of worship and ritual common across the wider Mediterranean cave landscape. Is there diversity in the material assemblages and in the approaches materials have been studied with? Throughout the ancient Greek world, people perceived caves as sacred places. The contributors of this volume follow along these lines, offering thoughts on their sacredness by introducing new cave material assemblages and interesting research directions. We are very grateful to all our contributors who responded enthusiastically to participate in the volume, and we hope our readers will be inspired to continue upon new paths and broadening horizons by including caves and their landscapes and rich contents in research on ancient Greek religion and cult.
Notes 1 Papathanasiou et al. 2018; Sponsel 2015; Sandoval 2016; Mavridis and Tae Jensen 2013; Moyes 2012; Bergsvik and Skeates 2012; Moyes and Brady 2012. 2 Novel et al. 2007. 3 Pearson 2018; Connors 2016; Mills 2014; Edmonds 2012; Ustinova 2009; Clottes 2004; Lewis-Williams 2004; Sommer 2003. 4 See De Tournefort 1717, 71 for Antiparos Cave; for Crete, see Gavrilaki 2017. 5 According to Paus. 4.36.2 the kings of Pylos, Nestor and Neleus, stabled their cows in this cave. 6 Thought to be the place for Ulysses’ swineherd; Sherratt and Bennet 2017. 7 Dawkins and Laistner 1913; Hazzidakis 1912–13. 8 Weller 1903. 9 (Attica) Rhomaios 1906; Travlos 1937; (Ambracia) Rhomaios 1916. 10 Payne 1935. 11 Benton 1947, 156. 12 (Crete) Marinatos 1935; (Chios) Hood 1981; (Markovits) Galanidou 2003. 13 Burkert 1985, 76. 14 (Attica) Papadimitriou 1959; Bravo and Mari, this volume; Pylos (Blegen 1954). 15 (Epirus) Higgs et al. 1967; (Franchthi) Jacobsen 1981 and subsequent monographs. 16 Papathanassopoulos 1971. 17 Amandry 1981 and 1984. 18 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17. 19 From earliest to most recent: Kontaxi et al. 1989; Sampson 1992; Sampson 1998; Koumouzelis et al. 2001; Kyparissi- Apostolika 2003; Mavridis 2007– 08; Efstathiou- Manolakou 2009; Karkanas 2013; Darlas and Psathi 2016; Kaczanowska et al. 2016; Mavridis and Tankosić 2016; Papathanasiou et al. 2018. Reports on the works conducted on various caves until the 1990s were included in the collective volume entitled Άνθρωπος και σπηλαιοπεριβάλλον, published by the Ministry of Culture (Athens 1998). 20 Jacobsen and Farrand 1987; Runnels 2001. 21 See e.g. Vasilopoulou 2018; Wagman 2015. Prominent shrines excavated during this time include Aghia Triada cave in Boeotia, Kouritas in Aitoloakarnania, Drakaina, Drakospilia and Boliatso on the Ionian islands, Lechova in Corinthia, Leontari and Schisto in Attica, the Cyclops Cave in the Northern Sporades, Chrysospilia and various caves on the Cyclades, alongside more cave shrines continuously revealed on Crete. See e.g. Mavridis et al. 2018; Karali et al. 2018; SamartzidouOrkopoulou 2015; Vasilopoulou 2013; Zampiti 2013; Kormazopoulou et al. 2011; Koutsouflakis 2008; Hatziotis et al. 1989. About Crete, see e.g. Gavrilaki 2017; Kanta and Davaras 2011; Faure 1996; Tyree 1974. 22 Swenson 2015; Morgan 2003; De Polignac 1995. 23 Crane and Fletcher 2015. 24 Sandoval 2016; Bagherpour-Kashani and Stöllner 2011; Bergsvik and Skeates 2012; Moyes and Brady 2012. 25 Nevett 2017; Andreasen et al. 2017; Voutsaki and Cartledge 2017; Haggis and Antonaccio 2015; Tomkins 2009; Voutsaki 2008. 26 Papathanasiou et al. 2018; Karkanas 2013. 27 Bailey et al. 2020; Andreasen et al. 2017. 28 Eidinow and Kindt 2015; Harrison 2015; Kindt 2012; Haysom and Wallensten 2011; Eidinow 2011; Charalambidou et al., forthcoming.
12 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel 29 Already in the mid-twentieth century, scholars stressed the importance of a multidisciplinary approach. Note the comments by C. Coon who excavated numerous cave sites in the Middle East (1956, 13): “Mound-digging archaeologists are divided into excavators, architects, experts at ancient writing, pottery experts, photographers, and the like. Their most difficult problem in the field is keeping out of one another’s hair.” 30 Schoephoerster 2020; Crane and Fletcher 2015; Ustinova 2009. 31 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17. 32 Darlas and Psathi 2016; Efstathiou-Manolakou 2009. 33 Hamilakis 2014. 34 Scarre 2006; Pentcheva 2018; Laferrière 2019. 35 Tyree 1974; Faure 1996; Tomkins 2012. 36 Samartzidou-Orkopoulou 2015. 37 Vikatou et al. 2018; Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17. 38 Earlier important research here includes Arapogianni 2000; Wickens 1986; Deligiorgi- Alexopoulou 1985; Papadimitriou 1959; Travlos 1937; Rhomaios 1906. 39 Muller 2019; Muller 2018; Insoll 2017; Croissant 2017; Muller et al. 2015. 40 Robb et al. 2015; Skeates 2015; Skeates 2012; Bergsvik and Skeates 2012.
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14 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel Kaczanowska, M., Kozlowski, J. K. and Sampson, A. 2016. The Sarakenos Cave at Akraephnion, Boeotia, Greece. Vol II: The Early Neolithic, the Mesolithic and the Final Palaeolithic. Krakow: The Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. Kanta, A. and Davaras, C., eds., 2011. Ελουθία χαριστήριον. Το ιερό σπήλαιο της Ειλειθυίας στον Τσούτσουρο. Heraklion. Karali, L., Mavridis, F. and Lambropoulos, D. 2018. Lion’s cave, Hymettus mountain, Attica: Figurines, structures and material culture associations. In Communities in Transition: The Circum-Aegean Area During the 5th and 4th Millennia BC, eds. S. Dietz, F. Mavridis, Ž. Tankosić and T. Takaoğlu, 269–82. Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens 20. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Karkanas, P. 2013. Cave sediment studies in Greece: A contextual approach to the archaeological record. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 73–82. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Katsarou, S. and Darlas, A. 2016–17. Cave heritage in Greece: Aetoloakarnania. Archaeological Reports 63, 89–106. Kindt, J. 2012. Ancient Greece. In The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion, ed. T. Insoll, 696–709. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kontaxi, C., Kotjabopoulou, E. and Stravopodi, E. 1989. Προκαταρτική έκθεση ανασκαφών στην “Α’ Κουβελέικη σπηλιά” Αλεποχωρίου Λακωνίας. Athens Annals of Archaeology 22(1), 21–30. Kormazopoulou, L., Zygouri, I. and Papathanasiou, V. 2011. Excavations at the cave of Lechova: A preliminary report. In Land of Sikyon: Archaeology and History of a Greek City-State, ed. Y. A. Lolos, 589–98. Hesperia Supplement 39. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Koumouzelis, M., Ginter, B., Kozlowski, J. K., Pawlikowski, M., Bar-Yosef, O. Albert, R.-M., Litynska-Zajac, M., Stworzewicz, E., Wojtal, P., Lipecki, G., Tomek, T., Bochenski, Z. M. and Pazdur, A. 2001. The Early Upper Palaeolithic in Greece: The excavations in Klisoura Cave. Journal of Archaeological Science 28(5), 515–39. Koutsouflakis, G. 2008. Lamps of the Roman period. In The Cave of Cyclops on the Island of Youra, Greece. Mesolithic and Neolithic Networks in the Northern Aegean Basin. Vol. Ι: Intra-Site Analysis, Local Industries and Regional Site Distribution, ed. A. Sampson, 127–59. Philadelphia, PA: INSTAP Academic Press. Kyparissi-Apostolika, N. 2003. The Mesolithic of Theopetra cave: New data for a debated period of Greek prehistory. In The Greek Mesolithic: Problems and Perspectives, eds. N. Galanidou and C. Perlès, 189–98. British School at Athens Studies 10. London: British School at Athens. Laferrière, C. 2019. Sacred Sounds: The Cult of Pan and the Nymphs in the Vari Cave. Classical Antiquity 38(2), 185–216. Lewis-Williams, D. 2004. The Mind in the Cave. London: Thames and Hudson. Mavridis, F. 2007–08. Salvage excavation in the cave of Antiparos, Cyclades. Prehistoric pottery and miscellaneous finds. A preliminary report. Aegean Archaeology 9, 7–34. Mavridis, F. and Tae Jensen, J., eds. 2013. Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Mavridis, F., Tae Jensen, J. and Kormazopoulou, L. 2013. Introduction: Stable spaces – changing perception: Cave archaeology in Greece. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 1–13. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Mavridis, F. and Tankosić, Ž. 2016. Early Bronze Age burial deposits at Ayia Triada cave at Karystos, Euboia. Hesperia 85, 207–42.
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16 Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel Sampson, A. 1998. The Mesolithic and Neolithic occupation of the cave of Cyclope, Youra, Alonnessos, Greece. The Annual of the British School at Athens 93, 1–22. Sandoval, R. 2016. Cuevas y Cenotes Mayas: Una Mirada Multidisciplinaria. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Scarre, C. 2006. Sound, place and space: Towards an archaeology of acoustics. In Archaeoacoustics, eds. C. Scarre and G. Lawson, 1–10. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Sherratt, S. and Bennet, J., eds. 2017. Archaeology and Homeric Epic. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Skeates, R. 2012. Constructed caves: Transformations of the underworld in prehistoric southeast Italy. In Sacred Darkness. A Global Perspectives on the Ritual Use of Caves, ed. H. Moyes, 27–44. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. Skeates, R. 2015. Underground religion in the central Mediterranean Neolithic. In The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe, eds. C. Fowler, J. Harding and D. Hofmann, 895–910. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sponsel, L. 2015. Sacred caves of the world: Illuminating the darkness. In The Changing World Religion Map, ed. S. Brunn, 503–22. Dordrecht: Springer. Tomkins, P. 2009. Domesticity by default. Ritual, ritualization and cave-use in the Neolithic Aegean. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 28, 125–53. Tomkins, P. 2012. Landscapes of ritual, identity, and memory: Reconsidering Neolithic and Bronze Age cave use in Crete, Greece. In Sacred Darkness. A Global Perspectives on the Ritual Use of Caves, ed. H. Moyes, 59–80. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. Travlos, J. 1937. Σπήλαιον Πανός παρά τω Δαφνί. Archaiologike Ephemeris 1937, 391–409. Tyree, L. 1974. Cretan Sacred Caves. PhD thesis, University of Columbia. Ustinova, Y. 2009. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind. Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. Vasilopoulou, V. 2013. Prehistoric use and ancient ritual worship at the cave of Agia Triada on Helicon. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 319–28. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Vasilopoulou, V. 2018. The island of Pholegandros and the graffiti of Chrysospilia cave. In Cycladic Archaeology: New Approaches and Discoveries, eds. E. Angliker and J. Tully, 339–45. Oxford: Archaeopress. Vikatou, O. Staikou, V. and Saranti, F., eds. 2018. Το Αρχαιολογικό έργο στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τη Λευκάδα. Πρακτικά 2oυ Διεθνoύς Αρχαιολογικού και Ιστορικού Συνεδρίου, Ι.Π. Μεσολογγίου, 6–8 Δεκεμβρίου 2013. Messolonghi: Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas. Voutsaki, S. 2008. Greek archaeology: Theoretical developments over the last 40 years. Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie 40, 21–28. Voutsaki, S. and Cartledge, P., eds. 2017. Ancient Monuments and Modern Identities. A Critical History of Archaeology in 19th and 20th Century Greece. London/ New York: Routledge. Wagman, R. S. 2015. The Cave of the Nymphs at Pharsalus. Studies on a Thessalian Country Shrine. Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy 6. Leiden: Brill. Weller, C. H. 1903. The cave at Vari. I. Description, account of excavation, and history. American Journal of Archaeology 7(3), 263–88. Wickens, J. M. 1986. The Archaeology and History of Cave Use in Attica, Greece, from Prehistoric through Late Roman Times. PhD thesis, Indiana University.
2 The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult Prehistoric cave sanctuaries Stella Katsarou
Introduction The chapter explores the trajectory to the establishment of formalised ritual activity in caves and the appearance of ancient cave shrines in mainland Greece, using examples of contextual evidence from the Bronze Age and the Neolithic (Figure 2.1). It argues that while ritual signification of caves by hunter-gatherers is ambiguous to us, between the sixth and the mid-second millennia bce sedentary societies developed a ritual activity in caves, which was systematised and site-specific. In the Neolithic, these engagements involved a range of performances, from unconsidered but structured practices of deposition to dedication rites and mortuary cults, and fostered a collective identity and relations of mutuality among the village community. During the third and the first half of the second millennium, critical ideological changes caused the disengagement of societies from the use of caves except in isolated instances of cave cult. In the Mycenaean era, there was a marked shift towards the establishment of a ritual tradition in caves, which developed according to a new religious and political order and entailed the character of cave shrines in the poleis-states. The chapter proposes that the phenomenon of cult in mainland caves eventually developed in antiquity through continuous redefinitions of institutionalised rituals that were long maintained in caves by prehistoric and Iron Age societies and political entities.
Mycenaean cave cult The rise of ancient cave shrines in the Greek mainland and their rapid spread in the Archaic period occurred in the context of the exclusive use of caves for cult purposes. The phenomenon reflects the effectiveness of new developments in the spectrum of religious, ethnic, and political identities and their solidification during the formation of poleis-states. However, the period spanning the Early Iron Age through the Geometric period demonstrated sporadically and with discontinuities few instances of cult activity, and fewer caves among them had acquired the developed features of cult − such as the Polis “cave” on Ithaca.1 This evidence implies that processes towards formalisation
18 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.1 Caves with ritual activity as discussed in the text. Map: T. Anker.
of cult in relation to caves had set out at an earlier stage before the Early Iron Age and had only a circumstantial effect before the burst of the phenomenon in the Archaic period. But how far behind might have these systemic developments occurred, and what kind of material assemblages might have been constructed in caves? During the Mycenaean period and over a considerable number of caves there was a notable spread of small-scale ritual activity, which was of homogeneous nature and seems to be conceptually related to the systematic cult that the same cave shrines hosted from the Archaic times and onwards. Nevertheless, it seems that research biases obscured the link of Mycenaean cult activity to the construction of ancient cave cult systems. Such biases may include consideration of the Late Bronze Age as chronologically distant from ancient cult, and technically on the other side of the prehistory/ history boundary, as well as the small size of the relevant cave assemblages. However, if seen more closely, the Mycenaean period of cave use transpires the impression of a limited but uniform wave of interest of people in caves, which encompassed diverse sites with a similar and targeted cult purpose. Is this phenomenon the initial component of the succeeding ancient cave cult system?
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 19 Material remains from Mycenaean contexts in caves where ancient shrines developed after a gap of some centuries imply that establishing such a link is possible. There is a range of cave sites in terms of regions and landscapes,2 which have remained unnoticed by research, and if observed closely, demonstrate the extensive and habitual nature of ritual activities on the mainland and beyond during the Mycenaean period. Their contexts involve the establishment of hearths in association with portable assemblages of small size and ranging from stemmed cups and other fine pots to figurines and some special items. On the other hand, no features imply simultaneous domestic usage of these caves. More specifically, one clay figurine (zoomorphic) and a number of kylikes were excavated at Corycian Cave in the uplands of Parnassos mountain above Delphi.3 The impressive grotto with an ample hall ending to robust stalagmite columns at the rear (Figure 2.2) hosted a thriving worship centre after the Geometric period. At Skoteini Cave in central Euboea, a dark chamber was accessible through a narrow corridor and contained a sediment of burnt ashy soil with a hearthplace (Figure 2.3), fragments from about 40 different decorated Mycenaean cups (Figure 2.4), a spouted bowl as well as a psi-figurine and two steatite beads.4 Mycenaean remains were lying immediately below the ritual deposit of the Classical- Hellenistic period (Figure 2.5). At Kastria Cave, a long karst channel with natural lakes, in the uplands of Helmos mountain in northwest Peloponnese, the cave’s mouth (Figure 2.6) contained a Mycenaean deposit with kylikes and skyphoi (Figure 2.7) below the remains from a thin ancient worship phase.5 An assemblage of stemmed cups, a psi-figurine (Figure 2.8) and a copper chisel came from the impressive tall chamber of the Cave of Nestor near Pylos on the coast of south Peloponnese. The shrine was resumed in late Geometric and more intensely around the Classical period (Figure 2.9).6 Considering the similarities among these records, an introduction of a cult system spreading across caves makes sense since the items brought in are barely ambiguous about their purpose as ritual sets and constitute the exclusive assemblages in these caves. The implications, therefore, are that there was limited though consistent expansion in the use of caves on the mainland in the Mycenaean period, and this activity did not involve any household functions but was orientated to ritual gatherings. Although these rituals seem to have occurred for a short period and involved only small groups of participants, they imply the adoption of certain ceremonial practices and assortment. How does this behaviour fit within the wider developments during this period, and how can we connect this with the subsequent rise of ancient cave shrines? Within the wider Mycenaean context, the evidence from palatial and urban centres asserts the development of a cult system that operated through settlement and palatial sanctuaries, actually one that was strongly determined as such and was also carefully deployed by hierarchical, political, and territorial
20 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.2 Interior of Corycian Cave. Photograph: F. Mavridis.
Figure 2.3 Ashy layer of the Mycenaean period on top of the prehistoric stratigraphic sequence at Skoteini Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson.
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 21
Figure 2.4 Decorated Mycenaean pottery from Skoteini Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson.
powers.7 References to a more formalised pantheon of gods and patterns of worship in Linear B texts also demonstrate an increased level of social standardisation and interdependence of religious and political systems.8 This essential connection of political and social stratifications with religious formations concerning the general construction of cult in Mycenaean Greece has been viewed as directly generating the construction and critical deployment of cult by poleis-states.9 In this framework, the ritual use of caves in the Mycenaean age occurs in accordance with a certain order; nevertheless, the cult assemblages themselves did not reveal the developments, tensions, dependencies, and rapid processes occurring in the wider political, religious, and social forefronts at the time. Also, rituals in the caves that lie in the broader area of palatial territories, such as the Cave of Nestor close to Pylos in the Peloponnese, do not give any manifest clue for direct dependence on or formulation by palatial identities
22 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.5 Geometric and Classical pottery from Skoteini Cave. Photographs: A. Sampson.
either. This probably indicates that mainland caves were associated with a distinct role, cult, but this cult lay on the margin of central sociopolitical powers and did not form one of their monumental expressions. That said, possible relations of cave cult with particular social groups or restrictions for their participation might have been directed by certain regulations.
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 23
Figure 2.6 Entrance of Kastria Cave at present (above), and during excavation in 1993 (below). Photographs: Author; A. Sampson.
Arguably, Mycenaean cave cult, despite a modest size of material representation, reflected the rise of systemic sociopolitical distinctions, which also entailed the essential political nature of cave shrines in Classical antiquity. Throughout the Early Iron Age the wider social transformations towards the formulation of the new political status were in progress, but they still found little expression in cave cult until the seventh century bce. The appearance of systemic features that define ancient cave cults were already evoked in the Mycenaean period, thus transcending the boundary
24 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.7 Pottery of Mycenaean period from Kastria Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson.
with the Early Iron Age. This remarkably deepens the foundation period and nature of the cults while raising more questions about the transformation processes, which had nurtured the routes of the cave cult within the societies of earlier periods.
Circumstantial cave rituals in the third and second millennia bce An exploration of the trajectory of early cave cults leads to intriguing implications for the gestation period of the phenomenon in the Greek context, which extends beyond the Mycenaean era and encompasses the first urban societies of the mainland in the Bronze Age and the agropastoral communities of the Neolithic. The deployment of the thread reveals changing purposes, perspectives, and forms of cult through time, across separate sites and diverse regions. These variant modes of cult included occasional activity as well as operation of systematic cult implemented at various scales and with different engagements of the associated communities. Starting from these considerations, the chapter explores the diversity in cave use before the appearance of ancient cave shrines in the Greek mainland and evaluates the degree the earliest modes of cult survived within ancient cult systems. In the Bronze Age, there is no other conclusive definition of the religion pursued in the Bronze Age societies before the Mycenaeans beyond recognition that the various forms of social and cultural relations, including households and burials, encompassed ritual systems.10 In this context, rituality in relation to caves is already by definition a blurred concept.
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 25
Figure 2.8 Mycenaean figurine from the Cave of Nestor. Photograph: A. Sampson.
Archaeological evidence for the use of caves in general indicates that their use in the mainland during the second and third millennia bce was markedly limited. This phenomenon was not particular to one phase but was rather a reflection of a long-term disengagement with caves, which occurred, through some fluctuations, in the context of early urbanisation. More specifically, cave use showed its most notable decrease during the Early Bronze Age of the mainland. A tendency for a reappraisal was marked in the Middle Bronze Age, while the Late Bronze Age asserted the stabilisation at a medium frequency rate, as we have seen in Mycenaean deposits. Predominantly, however, this changing frequency from the Early through the Late Bronze Age reflects important variations in the character of cave usage and probably indicates that structural differences shaped the way the non-urban landscape was conceptualised and constructed social relations during these two millennia.
26 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.9 Geometric and Classical pottery from the Cave of Nestor. Photographs: A. Sampson.
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 27 Unlike the fine quality and eloquent ceremonial nature of the assemblages deposited at caves in the Mycenaean period, few caves were used immediately before them, in the Middle Bronze Age, and directly demonstrate the presence of material equipment that was of a rather secular nature. Basically, evidence is composed of a mixture of household vessel types. The allegedly self-evident reading of these assemblages as sets intended for a domestic and utilitarian purpose renders them ambiguous about ritual uses at first sight. However, at the same time, a glimpse of the specific circumstances of use reveals possible different possible levels of complexity, depending on the levels of engagements with the place, which were formulating each community of cave users. Some examples of these specificities are provided here below by comparing evidence from caves in Boeotia and the Peloponnese. More specifically, during the eighteenth century bce, the Ayia Triada Cave on the side of an upland plateau on Mount Helicon in Boeotia hosted a substantial community of cave users despite its small funnel-like space. Based on preliminary analysis,11 the assemblage includes a significant number of pots comprising a range of hand-made serving and storing containers, predominantly decorated with incisions and grooves (Figure 2.10), as well as a smaller number of wheel-made fine and tableware, especially grey Minyan cups. There is also a particular coarse vessel, handled from its broad neck and carrying a big hole that would have been opened below the belly and just above the wide flat base at some stage of secondary use (Figure 2.10). The overall composition of the assemblage points to a straightforward domestic and household character and supports hypotheses about large-scale management of resources and landscapes by prehistoric pastoral communities and their economies. From this perspective, the Ayia Triada Cave probably served as a seasonal shelter for consumption and sustenance need of transhuman pastoralists of the Middle Bronze Age during their summer residence in the uplands. Simultaneously, lowland populations of the region, who lived on the fringes of lake Kopais near the Middle Bronze Age centre of Orchomenos, conducted similar practices at Sarakenos Cave. The wide entrance and spacious interior of this cave were exploited intensively in the early second millennium bce for the accommodation of a massive household equipment with sets of cookware and some fine tableware.12 The assemblage shows multivariable features in terms of size, shapes, and range, which were apparently effective for the sustenance of the residents in their exploitation of local resources, terrestrial and lacustrine, and the undertaking of systematic production activities in the area. In the Peloponnese, a similar massive import of domestic equipment into cave space was taking place contemporaneously at the Cave of Nestor near Pylos and Kastria Cave on Mount Helmos13 marking a different kind of assemblage compared to those from the Mycenaean period at the same caves. At the Cave of Nestor, the plain coarse wares predominated over a modest group of drinking pots and altogether seem to have served cave-based subsistence activities aiming at the exploitation of the resources of the area
28 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.10 Middle Bronze Age coarse vessel with perforated body (left), and bowl fragment with incised decoration (right), from Ayia Triada Cave, Boeotia. Photograph: Author.
around the bay, amidst intense cultural activity occurring in the surrounding open-air locations. The same kind of ordinary household activities is also true for Kastria Cave on Helmos in the northern Peloponnese. At the area of the entrance, this cave hosted an assemblage of a similar composition of coarse wares and vessels with incised decoration but of a notably limited size and range of forms14 and lacking the vessels of fine ware quality. Unlike the other sites, however, the context at Kastria Cave revealed a particular aspect that was more directly indicative of a votive and funerary purpose, as it was associated with the fill of a monumental ossuary constructed at the cave’s mouth (Figure 2.11). The deposit contained disarticulated human material including skulls and post- cranial bones from ten or more individuals, which were probably retrieved at some point from their primary burials − elsewhere − to be compacted inside the shallow niche near the cave’s entrance. The ossuary was accommodated under a low mound whose fill contained pieces from quotidian clay pots − intentionally fragmented or amassed old fragments − although there is no clue for the ceremonial practices conducted in relation to the ossuary. Whereas the location of the previous caves in the uplands directly implies association with transhumant pastoralists, at Kastria there are hints of local and permanent residential groups at the settlement occupying a hill at short distance further down inside the adjacent river valley. While the context of the other caves discussed above does not provide any conclusive explanation about ritual practices, the mortuary deposition at Kastria can be interpreted as the result of a straightforward ritual and
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 29 votive action. The ritual function of this place seems to be formulated through the implementation of funerary practices that were intended to the sanctioning of the ancestral identity and history of the local community by constructing a sacred topographical mark. The use of plain cookwares in the ceremonial context at this ossuary is no more than one of the various expressions of the fusion of the ritual with the secular;15 the same pottery for non-funerary purposes, domestic, residential, and so on engagements of transhumant or of households sustained by the exploitation of lowland, lakeside, or coastal landscapes with caves in the Middle Bronze Age, is not a manifestation of a profane materiality either, one that is bounded and self-evident, but of one where what seems straightforward in fact it is not. Overall, the picture emerging from the sites discussed above illustrates that, in the Middle Bronze Age, caves hosted basically sustenance practices that developed on the local scale depending on relations between village communities and the landscape while not accommodating ritual agendas exclusively. Mainland societies of the Middle Bronze Age rather transferred their household activities into caves and constructed there a household space beyond the village. However, if cave rites merged with funerary activity in one case, then it perhaps makes sense that non-detectable cult activities were integrated in the household usage and regular sustenance activity at caves. There is no implication for an exclusive non-funerary cave cult pattern, though, neither can a funerary ritual pattern be implied for the period from one occasion alone, let alone a cult system that was generally implemented in caves by Middle Bronze Age societies. In this sense, there is no link between this profile of cave use that characterised the Middle Bronze Age and the development of caves into exclusive places for rites that occurred in the Mycenaean period: on the one hand, signification and definition of cult in the Middle Bronze Age does not exist alone but is tied with, if not hidden within, the domestic character of practices conducted in caves. On the other hand, no such connection is reflected on the composition of Mycenaean ritual assemblages from caves, which became an entirely separate sphere of activity: one that was detached from the realm of the household and became dependent on central political power and decisions for landscape use, which were taken on a wider institutional scale. While the use of caves in the Middle Bronze Age strongly expressed an integrated domestic and ritual complex, the Early Bronze Age markedly represented a long gap in cave occupation and highlighted an ambiguous third millennium bce in terms of cave signification within mainland communities. That said, there are a few unusual cases of ritual action in mainland caves, such as the Ayia Triada Cave in Karystos, south Euboea, and the Skoteini Cave in the semi-mountainous central part of the same region, both caves been restricted for rites that occurred for a very short time period. Ayia Triada Cave, a narrow and long karst corridor with several interior chambers, is a unique case for cave use on the mainland for the
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Figure 2.11 Ossuary of Middle Bronze Age period during excavation at Kastria Cave. Photograph: A. Sampson.
dedication of its space to burial rituals undertaken by a local residential community that, based on cultural indications as the excavator has shown, was of a Cycladic origin.16 Fanis Mavridis and Žarko Tankosić argue that the group used the cave as a ritual hub for funerary traditions and that their offerings to the dead included typical Cycladic-style (saucers, pyxides, sauceboats, footed cups and storage jars with multiple shoulder-handles of the Early Bronze Age II) to highlight their distinct identity in relation to other local groups. Skoteini Cave further north in the same region hosted rites that involved at least communal drinking as indicated by the deposited assortment of spouted vessels − sauceboats, askoi, and open bowls. The deposit also contained a very particular item, a clay seal depicting a human figure raising arms.17 Except for these particular cases and slightly few more, the numerous mainland caves were overall ignored with regard to any kind of activity in the course of the third millennium bce. It seems plausible then that certain social and economic preferences directed Early Bronze Age communities to other priorities in settling and exploiting the landscape. For example, this marked neglect for caves occurs in sharp contrast with the flourish of engagements with cave space as attested in preceding Neolithic communities for a period of three millennia. Rather than them, Early Bronze Age communities possibly – a nd this is part of an ongoing research – p rioritised
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 31 centralisation of production activities around proto- urban settlements, increased dependency between them and the small communities, and therefore entailed contraction in the exploitation of upland resources. Within this framework, the implementation of rituals at the two Euboean caves above discussed, including systematic burial rites in one of them, represents a circumstantial and unusual engagement with the cave landscape in the mainland during the third millennium. From a broader perspective, such fluctuations in cave use as those attested in the long-term across the third and second millennia bce, and even against the picture of excessive cave use that emerges from the Neolithic background, only remind us that no autonomous connections exist between humans and caves and underscore the critical role of contextual relations in constructing cave/landscape-use behaviour.
Farming village communities: The background Cave usage by mainland agropastoral communities in the Neolithic culminated in the late sixth through the fourth millennia bce and integrated supra-regional and marginal landscapes on a scale of explosion that was beyond comparison to Bronze Age communities in terms of density and frequency of caves exploitation.18 Unfolding the tradition of cave-based ritual behaviour in sedentary societies of the Greek region presupposes exploring some intriguing hints for early performances by the local mobile groups who preceded them. This exploration will be offered here only as a brief introduction to the background of cave-based rituals in sedentary societies, and its thorough analysis remains beyond the scope of this chapter. The possibility of ceremonial relations of hunter-gatherers with caves in the Greek context emerges indirectly and by conjecture from technologies and materials that were associated with caves,19 while ceremonial uses of caves in the Paleolithic are actually common and expected in other geographical contexts. Particularly, foragers’ subsistence strategies in the Greek context incorporated recurring cave use in all mainland regions and by all hominin species as early as the time of the Petralona man in northern Greece and the homos of the Apidima cavern on the southern tip of the Peloponnese. But although these hominins’ behaviours indicate nothing about our discussion, later foragers who spread intensively over certain regions, such as the northwestern uplands of Greece in Epirus and the southern tips of the Mani peninsula, could be considered at least spiritually bounded with cave spaces, as they expanded their seasonally dependable use strategies over specific cave landscapes along river gorges and coastal zones.20 Caves became integral to the life of mobile groups, thanks to their subsistence facilities and their potential to act for stability in the process of resource exploitation.21 In sharp contrast with western and central Europe, however, the Paleolithic record of the southern Balkans including Greece does not provide evidence for a development of any mode of “shamanism” in association with cave spaces
32 Stella Katsarou and the creation of rock and mobile art for (spi)ritual empowerment in their interiors. One isolated example of incised rock art that depicts a wild goat in multiple renderings at the Asphendou Cave on Crete22 might need reconsideration as for its earliest date. So, understanding the construction of symbolic life among forager communities in the Greek mainland is confined to the conjectures provided by the generic behavioural pattern of subsistence uses and the preserved functional nature of the equipment employed for these purposes. These limitations strongly obscure possible site-specific definitions of the cave use by Paleolithic nomads in the Greek context, let alone possible cultic acts and other aspects of religious ideological and symbolic life that were in play together with subsistence needs. Certainly, not every kind of symbolic behaviour has to have a cultic connotation. Some rare pieces among the stone tool and dietary assemblages of the hunter-gatherers, however, may allude to some sort of ritual performances in caves. Such evidence comes from the Franchthi Cave, situated on the coast of the Argolid, eastern Peloponnese, which includes a spacious chamber then situated on the fringes of a coastal valley.23 The Franchthi Cave incessantly hosted camps of foraging communities until their replacement by farming villages. Technologies employed by hunter-gatherers at this camp included, among others, a specialised marine shell-working industry that was intended for the production of ornaments.24 More particularly, Catherine Perlès argues that this activity went on for millennia, since the early Upper Paleolithic and throughout the Mesolithic and into the Neolithic. It involved a range of sophisticated techniques and skills specifically invented by local groups for the modification of certain species of marine shells, including very elaborate perforation and colouring methods by heat-induced treatment. This specific technological industry at Franchthi Cave was systematised to the degree that it persistently survived the changing exploitation strategies and adaptations to environmental resources over successive groups of foragers.25 The place seems to have been highly valued for developing tradition and social relations through transmission of specific technical performances. Amplification of this approach leads to intriguing conjectures that might reveal group identity expression and empowerment on one level but might also enable speculations about the fact that the collective manufacturing operations intended for the production of personal adornment were reinforced by or even depended on bodily transformation and dramatic performance. Looking at the material picture from this widened perspective is possibly illustrative of the ritual character of the foragers’ acts of technological transformation, actually one which might have been even consciously perceived as sanctioning both the human body and the cave. Another example relates to the Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers of the Mani peninsula in the southern Peloponnese. Their communities intensively expanded their occupation over the caves and rock shelters on the southward- looking cliff and seafront of the peninsula. A distinct feature of their cave
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 33 camps (if we refer to the Greek context, yet so common all over the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East) was the habitual use of red pigments that was characteristic specifically for the Upper Paleolithic groups and is implied by abundant local raw hematite stone gathered inside caves and the recovery of red ochre on several items of worked bone and stone.26 Pigment extraction and ornament manufacture conducted at cave camps adds sensorial features and the skills of somatic transformation and performance into the practical and physical character of the camp and the foragers’ technical abilities in procurement, production, and processing of raw materials. By sheltering corporeal rituals and aesthetic and emotional interactions, cave landscapes might have then contributed to evolutionary beginnings of ritual cult27 in the Paleolithic context. From a wider perspective, a routinisation of economies and a practical dependence on caves might allow for a picture where the cave reflected a crystallised symbol in the conceptualisations of mainland foragers. A brief note on the Mesolithic burial rituals in the Franchthi Cave highlights that cave-based ritual performance of Greek sedentary societies could allude to and align with a straightforward and immediate background, temporally, to the emergence of cave-based rituals in local sedentary societies. The Franchthi Cave indeed emerged as a unique venue for mortuary ritual in the Mesolithic in that it demonstrated remarkable variability in burial performance.28 The implementation of inhumations and cremations, the considerable size of individuals, range of age across both sexes and the various evidence for symbolic practices that extended from modes of body position to deposition of food and use of fire that might also imply some ritual consumption nearby, altogether seem to match with later tendencies in cave-based mortuary. More than the burial rites themselves, the Franchthi Cave mirrors continuing if not increasing elaboration and profound establishment of the cave-ritual scene in its long-term perspective.
Neolithic worship (in) caves While mobile groups domesticated Greek mainland caves in various ways including the establishment of rituals (although they were assumed rather than straightforward revealed), sedentary communities developed, in the process, a range of systematic ceremonial performances in caves, which apparently had a critical effect in constructing powerful communal foci in conjunction with their open-air settlements. The phenomenon made its appearance a while after the advent of the Neolithic and gradually expanded during the early sixth millennium bce. Soon, activities in mainland caves rapidly multiplied over the next three millennia and integrated a very wide spectrum of household sustenance practices.29 The evidence from the mainland and the islands indiscriminately suggests that caves were densely inhabited in various modes, transiently, seasonally or continuously and lasting in the long- term, for storage and food-related purposes. These practices were usually intersected or complemented by mortuary and ceremonial acts that were associated
34 Stella Katsarou with feasts. The material assemblages reflected a wide spectrum of practical functions, production industries, consumption techniques, and relevant skills and configured diverse conceptual significations, identities, behaviours, and responses to particular circumstances. They served purposes of subsistence, display, reverence, and memory in a range of scales that connected the social and communal with household and personal contexts. In more specific terms, the items primarily revolved around assemblages of quotidian vessels for food and meal processing and storage, implements in clay, stone and bone, figurative representations, and funerary products. Composed then of manifold artefacts as well as livestock and foodstuffs, assemblages in caves were simultaneously secular and formal, domestic and special, votive, funerary, and ritual altogether.30 Although some of these aspects may have been more salient than others that were only temporarily and complementarily manifest, domestic and ritual realms in relation to the use of caves seem to have been interdependent. Scales, levels, purposes, and character of ritual engagements with caves certainly changed across sites. But in all cases ceremonial behaviour might have “sanctioned” the natural landscape evoking the powerful relations of stability, persistency, and faithfulness, which humans sourced from their continuous interaction with the cave landscape. This relation possibly constructed the notion of the cave as a special focus of ritual activity away from the confines of the built space and village. The approach to Neolithic caves as complementary components of farming villages and their sustenance functions31 has so far received some social insights,32 while settlements emerged as foci of social life through a variety of acts (e.g. feasting and ceremonial mortuary).33 In fact, the same paradigm that excluded caves from ritual uses in the Neolithic associated caves with exclusive rituals in the historic epoch, entailing a dichotomy between a prehistoric/domestic and a historic/ritual component of cave use.34 Peter Tomkins has been a pioneer in stressing a unified and dynamic rather than dichotomic diachronic trajectory of cave usage, pointing out the critical impact that the concept of domesticity had on overshadowing and absorbing recognition of cult in caves in the Neolithic.35 However, definitions of Neolithic cult performance, including an overall sensorial, ecstatic, and performative aspect of man– cave interaction,36 remain to be explored. The purpose of this overview is to explore how cave use in the Neolithic formed vernacular expressions, beyond a paradigmatic and generic conceptualisation of human– cave relations. Insights into specificities and changes in particular contexts of Neolithic cave usage might be able to widen the background traditions and perspectives of ancient cult that emerged at the end of the trajectory. The evidence below reveals that ubiquitous cave use in the Neolithic encompassed a range of identities and situations. Sometimes, cult is not straightforward manifest in the form of regulated and consciously driven modes of performance. Rituality may then be inferred indirectly as a mode of behaviour that was integrated in the quotidian life of household villages
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 35 but was simultaneously institutionalised per se through repetition and persistence to unconsidered everyday acts.37 On the other hand, there are instances of ritual performance that takes place as a diacritical activity from domestic functions at specific caves. And, although rituality is a precondition of cultic activities, yet, this interpretation in relation to particular caves would rather not also imply recognition of religious expression. In both situations, caves were implicit of a structured conceptualization of what they stood for among Neolithic farmers. Possibly this concept links to a cave-centred social mechanism, which was able to maintain coherence of the household-village society through construction of corporate cult systems − and venues − in the natural landscapes beyond the settled place.38 Selected archaeological case studies illustrate a dynamic, variable, and deeply rooted ritual tradition that caves sustained in three indicative examples from contemporaneous cave contexts. Theopetra Cave At Theopetra Cave in Thessaly in central Greece, rituality was constructed in integration with the mundane sphere of domestic functions, industries, and interactions. The united and tall chamber of the cave − or deep rockshelter − allowed users to oversee a heartland of agriculture in the plain for mainland sedentary groups from a dominating limestone rock (Figure 2.12).39 This fertile expanse sustained the tell-village communities who developed intense agropastoral strategies, specialised industries and techniques and also constituted bounded social entities, as villages and as household units, that were strongly dedicated to the maintenance of their identities on various levels. Their faithfulness in promoting particular histories entailed the effectiveness of large-scale landscape transformations through the growth of tell mounds.40 In this web of interactions in the plain, Theopetra Cave from the rock marked a particular concept of placemaking and integrated the character of the household into the cave space. In the sixth millennium bce, Theopetra provided a natural shelter for an arrangement of dense successive households affording the typical constituents of usual village life from material things, human relations, and human–thing interactions. Similar to the development of the tell-villages outside, one principal aspect of this human–cave relationship was the dynamic transformation of the cave’s interior into a tell (Figure 2.12), a place of history, through continuous deposition of occupation debris and residues on the cave’s floor.41 Undisturbed features in the stratigraphic sequence prove that every new group/generation of residents did not rework the older deposits through deeper layers, except in the few cases when they constructed pits. Rather, they created new occupation floors by a continuous relayering of the retained residue in situ. The debris contained all kinds of household remains, from the poorest refuse, such as food, utilitarian containers, and stone-knapping products, to very elaborate and valuable
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Figure 2.12 Theopetra rock (above) and cave interior (below). Photographs: Author.
accessories, including stone tools, fragments from fine pots, figurines, jewellery, and even dispersed human bones. Considering the differentiation of local composition across the space of Theopetra Cave, it seems that uses varied among separate areas, which accordingly entailed different pace and degree of deposition across the different locations of the cave. Deposition in the site was then a habitual and unconsidered situation that was possibly unconsciously but faithfully perpetuated by successive households in Theopetra Cave.42 Although not in the form of a distinct and conventional, let alone ceremonial performance, its structured character,43 devotion, and repetitiveness evoked the sense of rituality and of an institutionalised activity that was integrated in daily life.44 The structured formation of the deposits
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 37 at Theopetra constructed a tell in a cave and an equivalent monumental landscape to that constructed by the village tells of the plain, a household- village to be maintained and reinforced by its own distinctive symbolisms for placemaking, identity, history, and ownership.45 Alepotrypa Cave While Theopetra in central mainland demonstrates that ritual was an inherent component of domestic life at a cave, Alepotrypa on the southernmost coast is an explicit example of the emplacement of formalised cult at caves. Alepotrypa is located on the bay of Diros, one of the southern promontories of Laconia, Peloponnese.46 The cave comprises a complex of underground chambers and a large lake at its deep rear at about 300 m from the entrance. The chambers hosted a subterranean ritual system that was excessively complex in that it involved a wide range of ritual engagements, which were spread over all chambers and niches of the cave and were also spatially demarcated. More particularly, the tall chamber hall and some undulating and low spaces at the front half of the cave were primarily dedicated to funerary rites while domestic features (storage pits and activity floors with large amounts of storage jars and tableware) were also present (Figure 2.13). Mortuary performance was conducted through stereotyped forms of body treatment that included, apart from single and multiple primary burials, a range of secondary and other modes such as disarticulation, cremations, and exposition of crania and post-cranial bones in ossuaries (Figure 2.13).47 Except human bone, the ritual venture employed all sorts of artefacts (tableware/serving pottery, lithics, ground stone, stones for pigment extraction) and, presumably, also foodstuffs that would be associated in feasting and offering performances. The inner part of the cave was, however, exclusively devoted to ritual performances that excluded mortuary practices and rather focused on acts of painted-vase killing, and the dispersal and burning of these fragments almost “immersed” in animal dung that was also slow- burning.48 Overall, the variety and quantity of the dedications to either burials or cult performances in the cave comprised a stunning collection of fine wares, stone and bone tools, ornaments, precious stones, figurines and metal objects, including exotica. While many mainland caves hosted brief burial events in the Neolithic, and even some impressive (double) burials occurred at neighbouring caves (Skoini caves 3 and 4) on the same coast of the Mani,49 Alepotrypa is a unique example of a mega-burial and mega-cult scape considering such factors as the extent of the cult space, that indicates the physical space of the subterranean complex, its time duration over three millennia, the unparalleled large number of buried individuals,50 and diversity of cult performances. Alepotrypa stands out as the “underworld,” a space overtly and repeatedly devoted to the performance of cult in an intended, planned and ordered fashion that ultimately constructed a ritual institution. The effectiveness of this institution
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Figure 2.13 Left: Excavation of a Neolithic ossuary inside Alepotrypa Cave in 1971. After N. Lambert, Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 96, 1972, 852, fig. 7. Right: Neolithic domestic installations (with reconstructed pots) inside the first chamber. Photograph: S. Spyropoulos.
significantly lays on the sensorial impact provoked by the displayed bodies and a wealth of artefacts.51 In this context, the human body was an object of ritual, which could even be ancestral and cultic, even religious, depending on how far our assumptions may go. As it operated through the membership of a large number of individuals, possibly kin-groups, and communities clustered in distinct foci, firstly, it is probable that it also included non-locals, and second, the particular and distinctive sets of rituals and their specific temporal and spatial boundaries might suggest identity projection and even group claims. If differences are speculated, then should we also imply tensions
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 39
Figure 2.14 Food serving basin, storage vessels, relief pithos, and perforated coarse bowls from Neolithic burial and domestic contexts at Alepotrypa Cave. Photographs: Author.
and intercommunal competition within groups and that Alepotrypa Cave was the terrain where any such differences were levelled? In this integrated ritual and funerary setting a notable element makes the sacred venture even more complicated and monumental: contexts of domestic use (Figure 2.13) existed in conjunction with the burials in the front part of the cave. The archaeological levels revealed large pieces from storage jars with relief decoration (Figure 2.14), tableware, and an assemblage of coarsely made flat-based basins perforated on the rim. The household nature of this context creates ambiguity about its role in relation to the ancestors. Was it indeed an irrelevant utilitarian installation that served complementarily to the exterior settlement or was it the “heterotopia” of a household in the world of the dead? The possible establishment of a connection between the household and the ancestors reveals important symbolic correspondences: the Neolithic house was perceived as a transcendental and sacred institution, which acquired the ability to empower the living communities when brought in contact with “chthonic” forces.52 Cyclops Cave Although not in the extraordinary mode of Alepotrypa, cave rituals were frequently performed by most of the contemporaneous mainland and island communities, certainly at smaller scales and with local specificities. The Cyclops Cave on the islet of Youra in the northern Aegean provides evidence for such a specific votive ritual action. It is one of the few large and stalagmite
40 Stella Katsarou
Figure 2.15 Neolithic bowls decorated with weaving-inspired motifs from Cyclops Cave. Photographs: Author.
caves off the mainland coast and has rooms and larger chambers at different levels. A small dark space in the form of a terrace is confined by stalagmite curtains and columns, and overhangs above the central chamber. Inside this space a brief sequence of deposition rites took place in the Middle Neolithic − early sixth millennium bce. Performances involved fragmentation of red pattern-painted bowls and jars and deposition of their pieces at the foot of the most robust stalagmite column that stood at the edge of this short terrace.53 Dripping water running down the natural column from the ceiling flooded the floor and created a small pool around the base of the pillar. The votive practice at Cyclops Cave involved the deposition of fragmented pots with preference for pieces from shoulders and bodies (Figure 2.15). These parts usually carried red-painted decoration on a white background. Usual patterns included elaborate combinations of linear designs with net motifs, which seem to have drawn inspiration from similar decorative syntheses that had been weaved on tapestries and then were adapted to the clay media.54 Most stunningly, the construction of the painted equivalent on the pot depicted the original weaved image while integrating technical details of the weaving process. For example, the actual fabric from the interlacing threads, the warp and weft of the weave on which the tapestry designs would be woven was converted into a painted canvas net that fitted the painted ornamentation on the pot’s surface. This motif ensured an accurate plotting of the motifs by the potter-painter, which was obviously a choice in accordance with a shared aesthetic consensus about evoking weaving techniques.
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 41
Figure 2.16 The island of Youra from the south in the background of sea straits and southern islets of the Sporades archipelago. Photograph: A. Sampson.
In this context, the votive use of the decorated fragments associated ritual activity with a network of technical connections and exchanges between diverse workshops (painting, weaving), material media (thread, clay), and experts’ skills (potter, weaver) in household communities. Through these iconic votive artefacts, the craft identities of the worshippers who participated in the ritual were possibly evocative of certain individuals of the community, bringing images and memories of their activity to mind. Chronologically, the emplacement of this unusual and vernacular cult constructed an evocative ritual space at Cyclops Cave only for a brief moment in the early sixth millennium bce. Cultural affiliations stress a connection between the cave’s visitors and a contemporaneous village on one of the islets of the wider archipelago (Figure 2.16). In this sense, the Cyclops Cave ultimately represents a ritual destination, but one with a restricted spatial and temporal scale and also one that was attached to a significantly specific generation of the associated village community. These essential aspects create a markedly different ritual profile for the Cyclops compared to the long-lasting, multifaceted, multi-spatial, trans-generational, and trans- cultural character of the ritual activities at Alepotrypa and Theopetra caves, which also occurred in transcendence of diverse households and communities. We can assume that this particular group of worshippers who ventured out into the wild waters of the northern Aegean, domesticated the remote cavescape of the Cyclops to sanction identities of their village community through a distinctive ritual act away from their home island.
Conclusion This chapter discussed the circumstances that shaped the ritual use of caves in Greece in prehistory as well as their variant scale and character. Caves in Greece constructed places for distinct, structured, and repetitive
42 Stella Katsarou ritual behaviours that ranged from contexts of unconsidered quotidian life to institutionalised cult systems. Shared consumption of food and drink and structured deposition of artefacts and burials were the most overt techniques to practice ritual in any circumstances. However, occasionally, caves were marginalised in certain temporal and regional contexts. Similar developments, local specificities, and time-scale differences characterised the modes of cave use and, specifically, their ritual role, in the wider Mediterranean and Europe.55 Cave rituals in Greece empowered sociality and emphasised landscape enculturation outside sedentary centres by integrating cult in the domestic and funerary realms at various scales in household communities and by isolating ritual in the deployment of central political control in Late Bronze Age societies. In the Neolithic, reinforcement of the household was a principal stake of cave rituals. With stereotyped performance, communities and households constructed sacredness. They forged enduring memories and powerful connections with the place; they asserted commensal acquisition and sustenance of wealth; they reinforced corporate identity and ancestry and ensured coherence and mutuality. During the Bronze Age, caves entered a new social order that was set by centralised political and religious power. When social relations between groups and individuals became distinctively codified, the old household- centred institutions that caves represented became marginalised. Their ceremonial role fluctuated at much weakened rates of frequency. During the Mycenaean period, caves started to serve as self-contained cult places that excluded domestic uses, however they operated marginally in relation to open- air sanctuaries. When studying the beginnings of Greek religion, this transformation may provide a clue for understanding the concomitant beginning of caves as worship institutions in the service of a specific religious system that demanded a specific scheme of cult performances. However, the new structure principally directed the construction of cult towards different territories and relations with the landscape since these were more appropriate to reinforce the power of central administration. The chapter illustrated how caves can be associated with dynamic process and changing conceptualisations, material expressions, and modes of behaviour. Ritual signification was irrelevant to a cave’s specific natural environment. It was applied to a variety of physical shapes, including dark and deep spaces with open and spacious chambers, in all kinds of landscapes. Although activities in caves were sometimes tied to specific settlements, caves were self- contained spaces rather than extensions of the villages. Ultimately, the trajectory of cave cult in the Greek mainland was not a history of evolution. It followed a path of transformations, fluctuations, and discontinuities in accordance with changing social demarcations. Cave shrines in ancient Greece with their deployment of political control on ancient cult did not emerge in a vacuum. Rather, they stood at the forefront of diverse significations and
The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult 43 cosmologies whose impact fluctuated but may have constructed durable meanings through their antiquity.
Acknowledgements Particular thanks are due to the archaeologists whose finds from caves I discuss in this chapter, Anastasia Papathanasiou, Adamantios Sampson, Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika and Vivi Vasilopoulou. Special thanks should go to Andreas Darlas, Alexander Nagel and Eleni Asouti for stimulating and constructive comments. The Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology is gratefully acknowledged for providing facilities and permission for study and publication. Photographs are sourced from archives of the Ephorate except otherwise indicated. All photos were published with permission granted by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. At early stages, research in field and lab were funded by the Institute of Aegean Prehistory.
Notes 1 See C. Morgan, this volume, about intense activity at Polis “cave” during the Early Iron Age and Geometric evidence from various western Greek sites. Sparse assemblages in other caves through the Geometric period are reported from Attica (Wickens 1986), Corycian Cave (Jacquemin 1984, 29), the Cave of Nestor (Korres et al. 2014, 84), Skoteini Cave (Katsarou 1993, 325); see Figures 2.5 and 2.9. 2 The Cave of Profitis Elias near the acropolis of Tiryns was attributed a ritual use (Kilian 1990). This chapter, however, focuses primarily on caves not located inside citadels. 3 Lerat 1984, 4–21. 4 Katsarou 1993, 315–9. 5 Katsarou 1997, 311–6. 6 Korres et al. 2014, 83. 7 Nakassis et al. 2010; Shelmerdine and Bennet 2008; Wright 2008, 244; Kramer-Hajos 2016. 8 Palaima 2010. 9 Morgan 2003, 107. 10 Whittaker 2014, 72–92. 11 The prehistoric material from the Ayia Triada Cave, Boeotia, is under study by the author. 12 Sampson 2008, 331–61. Sarakenos Cave hosted a Mycenaean ritual deposit that was of a significantly smaller size and different composition compared to the large preceding Middle Bronze Age assemblage of the site. 13 Korres et al. 2014, 82. 14 Katsarou 1997, 294–309. 15 Insoll 2004, 10. 16 Mavridis and Tankosić 2016, 220–38. 17 Kapetanios 1993, 311. 18 Mavridis et al. 2013, 3–5; Tomkins 2009, 125. 19 Runnels 2001.
44 Stella Katsarou 20 Darlas and Psathi 2016; Tourloukis and Harvati 2017; Galanidou et al. 2020. 21 Van Andel and Runnels 2005. 22 Strasser et al. 2018. 23 Surdez et al. 2018. 24 Perlès 2018. 25 Asouti et al. 2018. 26 Darlas and Psathi 2016, 114–6. 27 Dissanayake 2017. 28 Cullen 1995. 29 Bogaard and Halstead 2015. 30 Skeates 2015, 897. 31 Zachos 1999; Runnels 2001; Sampson 1992. 32 Vitelli 1993, 217; Talalay 1993, 46–8. 33 Papa et al. 2004; Triantaphyllou 2008. Cf. Bradley 2005. 34 Wickens 1986; Watrous 1996. 35 Tomkins 2009; Tomkins 2012. 36 Cf. Brady and Ashmore 1999; Moyes 2012. 37 Insoll 2001; Swenson 2015; Baird et al. 2016; Whitehouse and Hodder 2010. 38 Van Dyke and Alcock 2003. 39 Kyparissi-Apostolika 1999. 40 Souvatzi 2008; Kotsakis 1999. 41 Karkanas 2001. 42 Thomas 2012; Garrow 2012. 43 Skourtopoulou 2006; Isaakidou and Halstead 2013. 44 Cf. Baird et al. 2016, 773. 45 Cf. Hamilakis et al. 2018, 93. 46 See volume edited by Papathanasiou et al. 2018 on this cave. 47 Papathanasiou 2018. 48 Psimogiannou 2018, 143–52. 49 Katsarou and Darlas, forthcoming. 50 According to A. Papathanasiou, until 2001 the anthropological record of Alepotrypa included 161 individuals but recent research has significantly increased this number. 51 Katsarou 2018, 114–21; Fowler 2004, 72–5. 52 Cf. Swenson 2015, 337. 53 Katsarou 2008, 107–8. 54 Katsarou 2008, 99–102. 55 Bergsvik and Skeates 2011; Bonsall and Tolan Smith 1997.
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3 Caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement The Idaean Cave on Crete Nassos Papalexandrou
In memory of Yannis Sakellarakis
Introduction In many cultures around the world, caves are contexts of transcendental experiences and cognitive enhancement. Local tradition, for example, associates the conception of Apokalypsis (Revelation), the last book of the New Testament, with a dark rocky cavern at the Aegean island of Patmos that for many centuries has functioned as a pilgrimage site.1 Likewise, a narrow cave at the foot of Mount Jabal on-Nur (“Mountain of Light,” also known as Mount Hira near Mecca in modern Saudi Arabia) attracts crowds of pilgrims willing to pray where they believe the prophet Mohammad received the first revelations included in the Koran.2 The cave inside the famous rock sheltered by the Dome of the Rock at Haram-al-Sarif in Jerusalem is an active locus of Muslim worship.3 It has been seen as a crypt for the Arc of the Hebrew Covenant but is also aetiologically associated with the prophet’s celestial journey. As the story goes, the Rock tried to follow Mohammed to heaven but in vain because the angel Gabriel used force to keep the Rock in place. But a gap had already been created and the marks of the struggle between the angel and the Rock are still to be seen on the fabric of the Rock to this very day. Pilgrims can touch them with their eyes while reliving the epochal moment with their minds. Caves have been playing a major role in Buddhist asceticism since the emperor Ashoka introduced his religious reforms to India in the third century B C E .4 In Afghanistan, Bamiyan became a vibrant monastic community early in the first millennium CE but is now famous for the destruction of the colossal figures of the Buddha in March 2001. Less known, however, are hundreds of caves all around them, which survived the Taliban ire. Most of them are human-made holes cut in the hard, vertical rock with patience and piety by monks seeking seclusion and enlightenment.5 In Mesoamerica, Mayanist David Stuart has recently understood caves as “ambivalent, boundary-line settings (between this world and the supernatural world) that … actively generate ritual.”6 His research has focused on the Maya
50 Nassos Papalexandrou ritual terms chan ch’en (sky-and-cave) and kab ch’een (earth-and-cave), which encompass the notion of caves as cosmological pivots of human communities, ceremonial focal points at the intersection of what is above the earth and what is below.7 In collaboration with anthropologist Evon Vogt, Stuart has documented the survival of these precepts among numerous communities of living Maya. The active beliefs of these communities are as diverse as they are localized but a thread common to this polyphony is that caves are populated by spiritual forces that control basic elements such as light, air, water, and earth.8 Likewise, art historian Carolyn Dean has recently illuminated in emic terms the animated landscapes of rocks in Pre-Columbian cultures of the Andes stressing the role of caves and outcrops as meeting points between the world of the living and the world of ancestors.9 These features exist in physical environments of lapidary excess, which are similar to the physical context of the Idaean Cave, the focus of this essay. Considering this evidence from all around the world, it is not surprising that caves play a fundamental role in important stories of enlightenment and cognitive rebirth. Good examples are the Cave of the Nativity of Jesus Christ and that in the famous parable in Plato’s Republic (VII, 514a). Both are premised on fundamental contrasts between darkness and light, oblivion and knowledge, illusion, and insight. The cave of Jesus’ birth is not explicitly attested in the canonical texts of the New Testament –it is reported instead in texts of the apocryphal tradition.10 The theme is manifest, however, in many pictorial media that visualize the birth of Christ as the generation of Logos, divine wisdom revealed on earth to bring salvation and joy.11 In equal measure, Plato’s cave offers a vision of humanity smashing the shackles of ignorance and illusion to attain true knowledge in the field of eternal ideas.12 In these narratives of cognitive enhancement, caves are not simply neutral stage settings for the unfolding of action. Instead, they evoke an unmistakable sensory dimension that punctuates the manifestation of the miraculous in both stories. In the Christian apocrypha, such as the Protoevangelium of James or the Gospel of Pseudo Matthew, the nativity is set deep in the darkness of a forbidding grotto that is inundated by light the moment Jesus is born. In addition to this, the celestial epiphanic star of the scriptures adds a strong visual complement to the aural soundscape Christianity celebrates every December. To this sensory overload the Magi from the East offered to Jesus and to our imagination the delights of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. It is tempting to imagine the combined effects of sparkling gold with the olfactory emanations of myrrh and frankincense. The inclusion of these sensory elements in this narrative is derived from worshippers’ experiences in the actuality of ritual practice. Likewise, light in all its splendid glory is the major sensory apparatus that makes the Platonic simile possible. In Plato’s vision, we are all confined in caves, perceptually and conceptually handicapped by the deceiving interplay of light and shadow. Plato imagined that it takes a strenuous exit from this matrix-like illusion to reach the outside world of blinding illumination and true knowledge. This essay focuses on materials excavated at the Idaean
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 51 Cave on Crete, a sanctuary of Zeus mentioned by Plato as the destination of the interlocutors in his dialogue Laws (625b). The simile may well have been inspired by physical attributes of this cave. These archetypical narratives are premised on the power of metaphor. But metaphors draw from our capacity to transpose meaning generated in the raw material of actual embodied experiences.13 Studies of these experiences point out that despite cultural, temporal, and geographic particularities, humans’ religious attachment to karstic phenomena is universal.14 Scholars now understand that since the Pleistocene epoch, caves have been sites of cognitive and sensory experiences in conjunction with manifestations of religious behaviours that pivot around shamanistic practices.15 Anthropologists Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams are the proponents of a dominant interpretive model that links material and visual symbolism in caves, rock shelters, and outcroppings with the ubiquitous belief that the numinous inhabits the world and makes itself manifest through these landscape elements.16 Their ethnographic work across the globe is in tune with and finds corroboration in more focused studies of the same phenomenon. Following Clottes and Lewis-Williams, Yulia Ustinova has recently argued that in the ancient Greek world caves were contexts for shaman-like encounters with supernatural beings.17 The evidence discussed above invariably speaks to the nature of caves as liminal spaces in which the cognitive fuses with the sensory to inform a wide spectrum of collective or individual religious experiences. I argue that inside or around caves sensory experiences are by default cognitive ones and vice versa. And this is possible because often caves make possible the concerted action of the artefactual and the natural. Rather than privileging one or the other, I propose that caves as sites of ritual action witnessed the staging of cultic events during which the natural ambience of the cave became a formative backdrop for the experience of the material apparatus (ritual or votive) of the cave cult. Likewise, artefacts deposited in caves imparted their own radiance to the interior or exterior of the cave. Recent studies have stressed the need for the systematic study of the sensory properties of cultic environments in which the affective properties of artefacts are in mutual dialogue with those of their surrounding physical settings.18 My methodology is inspired by phenomenological approaches, especially by Hein Bjartmann Bjerk’s consideration that the majority of cave formations and the phenomena they make possible are “constants through time, and hence were part of past peoples’ surroundings. How these elements were integrated in past world views we do not know … sensory impressions related to entering, being in, and departing from caves are so profound and diverse that it is possible to … explore how they evoked meaning in past peoples’ notion of ‘being in the world’.”19 Although the sensory sensitivities of contemporary observers or students of these phenomena could never approximate those of past subjects, there is considerable overlap that enables informed reconstructions of past experience.
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The Idaean Cave as a Wunderkammer My case study is the Idaean Cave on Crete (Figure 3.1), a site associated in narratives and ancient rituals with Zeus’ birth and upbringing.20 More than anywhere else in the ancient Mediterranean, Crete witnessed a plethora of vibrant cave cults scattered all around its rugged mountainous landscape.21 The Idaean Cave is perhaps the most important of them in terms of its tenacity in time as well as the quality and quantity of its material wealth. In this analysis, I am drawing not only on the growing scholarship of this exceptionally aureatic site but also from my personal experience as member of the excavation team in two long excavation seasons directed by the late Yannis Sakellarakis in the summers of 1985 and 1986. Sakellarakis’ excavations and their publication in 201322 added to the already existing wealth of very diverse materials23 excavated systematically or illegally in the last two centuries. These materials point to the cultic function of the cave from the Bronze Age to the Late Roman period, but its usage in the Neolithic and after antiquity has been amply documented as well.24 The finds form an incomparable assemblage of artefacts so unique and exquisite in form, content, and affect that they enable the following hypothesis: in certain periods the cave was set up as
Figure 3.1 View of Idaean Cave from the east end of the plaza in front of it. Photograph: Author, June 2004.
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 53 a veritable Wunderkammer, a speleo-cabinet of ineffably amazing curiosities whose effect and affect were compounded by the extraordinary physicality of the cave itself. The Wunderkammer phenomenon is spatially and temporally distant from the Idaean cave’s efflorescence as an active cultic site of Early Iron Age Crete. However, it offers a potent metaphor for grasping the cultural milieu that accounts for the complex cultic profile of the cave in this period. The Wunderkammer are symptomatic of historical periods characterized by conquest, exploration of new spatial frontiers, increased connectivity, and expanding cognitive horizons.25 Good examples are the Hellenistic world in the wake of Alexander’s conquests or Europe in the aftermath of Columbus’ discoveries. The former produced phenomena like the Museum in Alexandria and the great collections in cultural capitals like Pergamon and Antioch.26 The latter made possible the well-documented but now vanished cabinets of curiosities –a widespread phenomenon that is well-documented throughout early Modern Europe.27 These periods often are politically economically, socially, and culturally destabilizing. Intensive travel, circulation of new ideas, opening of trade routes, and exploitation of new resources generate the impulse to redraw physical and conceptual maps of the known universe. Established paradigms of thought are upset under the onslaught of the radically new, and the recalibration of the cosmos becomes inevitable. A concomitant trait of such processes is the intensive pursuit, collection, and systematic study of marvellous objects, natural or non-natural. These assemblages are often new and exciting species of bizarre animals, monsters, exotic plants, fossils, shells, and raw materials or exquisitely crafted human-made artefacts that open up infinite possibilities for new forms, sensations, experiences, and knowledge. In the context of Wunderkammer, these objects literally came to epitomize the world. As Paula Findlen aptly put it, the cabinets of curiosities became “a repository of the collective imagination of their society.”28 Rich assemblages of sumptuous or other artefacts have been documented elsewhere on Crete.29 However, scholars have not addressed the concerted agency of these assemblages as constituents of sacred space and ritual action. Viewed through the theoretical lens of what Philip Fisher calls “an aesthetic of rare experiences,”30 the wondrous assemblage of the Idaean Cave can be seen to have offered otherworldly experiences to those allowed to make physical and cognitive contact with its riches –to put it more precisely, throughout the cultic history of the Idaean Cave the materiality of the deposited materials in the cave made possible exclusive haptic, olfactory, aural, tactile, and visual experiences of the extraordinary. The aim of these synesthetic experiences must have been to overwhelm the body and the mind of worshippers with a redundancy of stimuli –although decimated and fragmentary, to this day the artefacts speak to these transformative experiences, the actuality of which finds some corroboration in the equally fragmentary textual record. In the third century C E , for example, Porphyrios, a Neo-platonic sage, reports in his Life of Pythagoras that during his complex initiation at the cave, Pythagoras underwent purification and this involved a keraunia lithos, an unknown material whose name semantically
54 Nassos Papalexandrou associates the qualities of hard stone and thunderbolt (Life of Pythagoras 17). It is unknown whether the alluded process was of visual or tactile nature, but this informational fragment hints at how deeply the artefactual materiality of the cave informed religious experiences inside and around it. Of equal import is a wealth of information that stresses the role of artefacts as sources of sound. A round seal of rock crystal, dating to the Bronze Age, depicts a female figure standing in front of an altar topped with a pair of horns of consecration.31 In front of her mouth she holds a conch shell, a sound-producing instrument shown here in the context of ritual action. This artefact is miniscule, but its expressive power extended beyond its capacity to represent the production of sound. The viewers of the image, either on the actual stone itself or its impression on a different medium, would have vividly sensed the actual sound of the conch shell. In the interior of the cave, the synesthetic power of this image would have evoked not only sound but its reverberation within the grand sound box of the cave’s main chamber. Likewise, in this discussion, mention must be made of an emblematic artefact dating to the late eighth century BCE (Figure 3.2). The famous embossed disc (55 cm diameter) with figures of demons gleefully beating their cymbals
Figure 3.2 Herakleion Archaeological Museum. Bronze disc from Idaean Cave: Embossed decoration depicting Zeus and daemons with cymbals. Photograph: Author, October 2019.
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 55 on either side of a Near Eastern figurative conceptualization of Zeus is often recognized as a tympanon or cymbal.32 The point has often been made that this iconography illustrates or prescribes ritual action inspired by narratives attested in textual sources (e.g. Diodorus Siculus, 5.65.4; Hyginus, Fabulae 139.3). I propose that we have to explore the synesthetic effect and affect of this wondrous artefact. It did not only evoke a thunderous epiphanic soundscape. Its ebullient visuality was shocking, to say the least, as it demanded ways of seeing that demanded much more than the competences contemporary viewers would have been able to bring to it. Moreover, this artefact was rendered in embossing, a technique that creates relief surfaces purposefully designed to arouse a pilgrim’s or initiate’s tactile sense as well. The scene is encircled by a rhythmical chain of buds whose shape recalls those of the lotus plant, a fragrant species with psychotropic properties. One wonders whether pilgrims’ or initiates’ interactive experiences with precious offerings made of wood, gold, and ivory are to be reconstructed in an ambience flavoured by the burning of frankincense or other viscerally affective substances. Yannis and Efi Sakellarakis discuss a group of fans with ivory handles in the shape of standing nude females on polygonal stems imported from the Near East – their feathers have not survived.33 The function of these artefacts makes sense in multisensory environments that would have required interaction with or even manipulation of the evanescent smoke exuded by burning sacrificial victims or aromatic herbs. The concerted action of wondrous artefacts would not have been possible, had the cave not been uniquely endowed by nature and time with a rich array of physical and spatial qualities. In a recent study of Anatolian karstic formations, Omür Harmansah aptly stressed that “caves … give access to an authentic sense of deep historicity due to their unusual nature of alternate temporalities.”34 His words epitomize well what is at once an initial but also a lasting impact of the Idaean Cave’s physicality to a visitor’s body and mind. This is also what I myself experienced in the 1980s as an initiate of sorts. I understand that my first-hand experience may be met with disagreement by those programmatically set to expect hard, objectified data rigorously analyzed and pregnant with deliverables. Following Hein Bjartmann Bjerk and others, however, I propose that our responses to the physical qualities of the cave are in unmistakable alignment with human experiences of visitors and pilgrims across time and space. What makes this alignment possible is “the notion of a pre-reflective embodied consciousness that is necessarily anonymous and which all humans share prior to and irrespective of the distinctive cultural and linguistic worlds in which they are enmeshed.”35 A difference between us and past sensing subjects lies perhaps in the intensity of responses and the extent to which one is willing or capable by cultural conditioning or personal idiosyncrasy to empathetically tune oneself to the unknown –but not altogether unknowable –human Other of the past or the present.
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The surrounding environment Caves are often positioned in mountainous regions formed by prolonged and often violent tectonic processes. In places like the French Ardèche, Anatolia, Crete, Afghanistan, India, or the Chiapas of Mexico, caves are located at the epicentre of concentric circles of decreasing accessibility and increasing remoteness. Traversing this landscape is often arduous and so fraught with various difficulties that adjustment to it demands difficult mental and physical gymnastics. Located at an altitude of 5180 feet, even today the Idaean Cave enjoys no easy access through a notoriously rugged mountainous terrain. In antiquity, the mountain’s lower altitudes would have been much more forested than today but the excess of rock in the immediate surroundings of the Idaean Cave must have been a constant element for millennia. Movement through this terrain entails a continuous negotiation of changing scales, often abruptly ascending altitudes, and gradual immersion in a world apart where nothing but superlatives predominate. Here is a dominion of big, soaring skies. The air is as fresh as it can be, always superbly fragrant with species that are only endemic in the higher altitudes of Mount Ida. And around the year, weather phenomena are more intense than in the ordinary world of lower altitudes. What makes this world most formidable, however, is the ubiquitous concrescence of rocks and rocky formations, the cumulative effect of which is impenetrable massiveness and defensive aggression. Writing about the Mani peninsula, travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor has aptly used words that express the physical synesthetic essence of Mount Ida just as well: Except where their cutting edges were blurred by landslides, the mountains looked as harsh as steel. It was a dead, planetary place, a habitat for dragons. All was motionless … The perpendicular and shadowless light reverberated from the stone with a metallic glare and the whole landscape had a slight continual shudder, trembling and wavering in the fierce blaze of noon … Everything … was the abomination of desolation.36 For millennia this forbidding mountain has sustained a vibrant economy both in the surrounding lowlands, for which it functions as a watershed, but also in its mid-high altitudes, which have always hosted predominantly pastoralist activities.37 As elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean, this contradiction may account for its population with supernatural beings, such as the host of beings that attended Zeus’ upbringing inside the Idaean Cave: Kouretes and Dactyls, Nymphs and Melissae, the goat Amaltheia, the eagle bringing nectar from a crooked rock would have been perceived as active forces animating the landscape one has to negotiate in order to reach the sacred site.38
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 57
The Idaean Cave as a physical and artefactual religious space Being in the cave entails entering an alternative dimension of space and time. Access to it involves traversing a flat and narrow open area in front of it (Figure 3.1), the eastern edge of which affords vistas of Nida, the peaceful mountain plain that lies about 300 feet below the level of the cave.39 On the south side, this plaza is framed by a precipitous rocky outcrop with a spiky top, whereas on a lower elevation a rectangular altar carved in the hard limestone of a smaller outcrop lies off the main east-west axis of the cave (Figure 3.3). A place for congregations or perhaps seasonal camping for pilgrims, this area is also a transitory space that for visitors moving towards the entrance affords the last glimpse of the unsettling mass of the mountain that rises over the cave at steep angles. This forbidding load punctuates one’s approach to the cave even as it dictates the vastness of scales and forces that have brought the cave into existence. The mouth of the cave is a gracious arch overhung by a vertical solid mass of rock, a long amorphous forehead deprived of the relieving comforts of eyes or even a nose (Figures 3.1 and 3.3). It hovers overhead creating feelings of uncertainty and impending danger. One is vulnerable in this transitory spot as the living rock is in a constant state of disintegration, releasing small chunks of its disarticulated material. During my
Figure 3.3 View of the mouth of Idaean Cave, the rock altar in the foreground. Photograph: Author, June 2004.
58 Nassos Papalexandrou
Figure 3.4 Survey plan of Idaean Cave, including the trenches, spoil heaps, and position of the rail tracks used in the excavation seasons 1983–88. After Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 124, fig. 83. Reproduced by permission of the Archaeological Society at Athens. Redrawn by T. Anker.
participation in the excavations, wearing a helmet inside or anywhere near the cave was mandatory. One wonders how pilgrims in antiquity would have felt when confronted with these phenomena around the entrance or even inside the cave. For us, rock is solid, unchanging, and inert, but alive. Movement and work inside or near the cave disclose a different reality. Geologically, the cave is a wrinkle in the massive limestone carved by tectonic forces and erosion caused by wind or the rich fauna and flora of algae, fungi, grasses, and other organisms that have thrived in it for aeons. This action has shaped a magnificent theatrical main space with a descending slope that leads to two main niches, the northern one deeper than the southern one (Figures 3.4 and 3.5). For one standing at the entrance of the cave, the main space appears as a theatre with a steep auditorium –the only difference is that one senses spaces that remain hidden, exciting the imagination
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 59
Figure 3.5 Longitudinal section of Idaean Cave, along its E-W axis. After Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 128, fig. 90. Reproduced by permission of the Archaeological Society at Athens. Redrawn by T. Anker.
and making the exact extent of the cave unknowable. The north niche, for example, is hidden and dark. High on the southwestern wall of the cave is hidden a smaller deep gallery, usually viewed by archaeologists as an adyton, access to which is difficult (Figures 3.4 and 3.5). On a higher level hang the remains of what once was a romanesque- like pillar of an impressive grand stalactite. As Jean Clottes observes, caves are other worlds, and speleothems like this stalactite are their distinctive landmarks: “they assail the spirit of those who enter, demand explanations, and are likely to have beneficial or evil properties.”40 Even higher, a tall narrow dome always dwells in impenetrable darkness concealing one or more pathways to an always unknowable beyond. It is the nesting place of bats and seasonal birds (e.g. swallows), but the cave is also known for numerous other avian species. Their various calls resound all around the cave’s vaulted ceiling, imparting to it a strong sonorous property that complements the cave’s natural resonance or the various sounds of the wind outside. This framework is not the inert boundary of a spectacular stage for ritual action. Rather, it is an expansive canvas replete with an infinity of forms, shapes, textures, colours, shadows, smells, sounds, and temperatures in perpetual flux. The cave’s eastern orientation ensures that the light inside it is always changing, casting continuously moving shadows of rock, clouds, birds, and bats. The cave’s rich flora and fauna, which I cannot address in detail here, is calibrated to the behaviour of wind, outside temperature, and overall humidity –the walls of the cave will sweat and start dripping more intensely
60 Nassos Papalexandrou long before the barometer falls outside. Henri Verbruggen argues that the constant presence of water inside the Idaean or other caves may have enforced the pilgrims’ belief in the presence and agency of divine beings.41 Likewise, Yannis and Efi Sakellarakis report the documented presence of hidden passageways (chasmata) in the rocky fabric of the cave’s north niche that allows drafts of cool air in the interior of the cave.42 Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the cave itself is a complex living organism in tune with the cosmos and that it has been perceived as such throughout the millennia.43 Its concerted polyphony constitutes an unparalleled phenomenological field that beckons the visitor to surrender her sensorium to the supernatural forces that make all this superlative excess of life possible. It is no wonder, therefore, that the cultic history of the cave aligns it with similar instantiations elsewhere in time and space. Being in it is like standing on a threshold to a different world that functions like what Michel Foucault has called a “heterotopia,” a physical and social space that is “a kind of enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality.”44 The cave affords us a sense of what being outside all places feels like, even for a brief moment. In this cosmic niche of lapidary profusion, one senses an effusion of life eternal whereas everything that can excite the sensorium is more authentic and ever-present. It is no accident that in this hidden marvel the cult evolved around the figure of Zeus the Cretan Born, a supreme divinity who was born and reborn in perpetuity.45 Heterotopias are always transformative. As suggested above, the sensory properties of extraordinary artefacts in concert with the cave’s superlative physicality would have had a multiplier effect in enhancing the cave’s numinous ambience. A plethora of objects excavated at the cave46 points to the dazzling sensual richness encountered inside it: artefacts made of amber, ivory, iron, rock crystal, carnelian, amethyst, lapis lazuli, gold, silver, faience, glass, bronze, clay, and fragrant wood may have acted at times as mediatory devices capable of sensory stimulation or manipulation. All of them would have contributed to a Wunderkammer atmosphere conditioned by the worshippers’ embodied response or surrender to the sensory polyphony of the cave. A category of functional objects was certainly used in ritual events, such as libations or banquets (e.g. phialai, tankards, tripod-stands, wheeled stands, portable cauldrons, or tripod-cauldrons), during which visitors would have physically interacted with them (Figure 3.6). All of them were sumptuous objects strictly reserved for the spheres of the sacred –they rarely appear in settlements or other contexts of everyday life. It is therefore legitimate to surmise that the worshippers’ physical responses to these ritual artefacts were largely based on their unfamiliarity with their materiality and its sensory properties. Certain categories (e.g. phialai or the square-wheeled stand) were embellished with figurative narratives whose content entailed a special kind of visual literacy usually attained in exclusive contexts of ritual performance.
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 61
Figure 3.6 Herakleion Archaeological Museum. Display case with a small selection of finds from Idaean Cave. Photograph: Author, October 2019.
A large number of the artefacts discovered in the cave, on the other hand, were more personal in character. Numerous artefacts belonged to personal adornments or articles of clothing (e.g. fibulae). They were deposited by individual worshippers whose gestures aimed to establish a permanent connection with the divinities of the cave. The excavation, however, did not produce any evidence as to the modes of display or presentation during which these artefactual “prayers” would have become vital elements during one’s pilgrimage. Numerous artefacts, often with traces of burning, were discovered in a black and greasy layer of ash that covered the main gallery of the cave. Because of this, Yannis and Efi Sakellarakis have followed Spyridon Marinatos in
62 Nassos Papalexandrou theorizing an “altar of ash” inside the cave, which received offerings during sacrificial events.47 The reconstruction of the arrangement and display of the various categories of artefacts inside or around the cave is not at all an easy process. Epigraphically documented cases like the treasure lists of Parthenon and the Erechtheion48 or the precious holdings at the sanctuary of Athena at Lindos49 are rare. They are valuable nevertheless because they offer unique testimony for reconstructing the aesthetics of the sumptuous materiality curated in these sanctuaries. The Idaean Cave would not have been different, but there is only one explicit testimony on the matter of curation and presentation. In the fourth century BCE , Theophrastos wrote about a fruitful poplar tree that stood at the mouth of the cave (Hist. pl. 3.3.4). His wording implies that it was loaded with votives that either hang from its branches or were tied around its trunk. His testimony may illuminate a rather restricted period in the life of the cave, but it alerts us to practices that largely contradict contemporary assumptions about material objects and their handling. Scholars have often hypothesized that complex artefacts like the famous hammered shields with embossed decoration may have at times been displayed in the way reported by Theophrastos. His testimony, however, lacks specificity whereas the materiality and visuality of the shields seem to have necessitated a different mode of display. A few of them featured a central protruding protome of a wild animal (e.g. a roaring lion), around which a rich figurative repertory aggressively invited viewers to pay close attention to their figurative themes. The ebullient visuality of these objects, however, demanded from viewers extraordinary strategies of decodement. It is therefore more preferable again to surmise the intermediation of performative events during which the epiphanic character of these objects was attuned to the Wunderkammer nature of the cave. We must imagine the space of the cave as an enhancing sound box doubling at once as a screen and an elaborate theatrical backdrop. In this framework, the senses and the mind become more alert, attentive, and absorbent –this is usually the case when the numinous is sensed to be physically present and active.50 Ancient testimonies (e.g. Pausanias) often emphasize the museum-like quality in the interior of temples or sanctuaries comparable to the Idaean Cave.51 One has to theorize various regimes of accessibility, physical or conceptual, that the priesthood would have put to effect in order to covet select visitors or to affirm pre-existing hierarchies and introduce new ones. The most extraordinary objects would have been rarely visible or when viewed, worshippers would have handled them with their eyes or their hands under circumstances governed by special protocols strictly controlled by the authorities in charge of the sanctuary. In his Life of Pythagoras, for example, Porphyrios reports that during his prolonged initiation at the cave Pythagoras witnessed (ἐθεάσατο) the “annually adorned throne of Zeus.” This testimony is frustratingly elusive but clearly speaks to special instantiations of special viewing (theoria) that was initiatory in character –induction, that is, to a revelatory kind of knowledge reserved for an exclusive audience.
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 63 Practices like this may be understood in the light afforded by more recent and better documented examples. One thinks, for example, of aureatic examples like the wood- and- ivory Cathedra Petri, a relic believed to be St. Peter’s throne when he was bishop of Rome. It is now concealed underneath an extravagant sculptural rendering created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the seventeenth century and located on the main apse of the cathedral in axial alignment with the famous baldachin by the same artist. It is never put on public display and only shown on very rare occasions to a very select few visitors.52 Likewise, in Cyprus, icons of the Virgin are usually covered by a veil that prevents pilgrims from making eye contact with her53 –the veil protects the Virgin’s image from indiscreet eyes even as it protects, according to Annemarie Weyl Carr, pilgrims or viewers from the monstrous power of the icon. Instead, pilgrims are expected to immerse themselves in prayer contemplating the myriad of precious votives that speak both to individual gestures of piety and to the incontrovertible power of their object of worship. At the Idaean Cave, many ivories carved in Near Eastern styles and figurative themes were originally used for the revetment of small wooden containers, which may have held precious or miraculous items from the sacred treasure of the cave. Likewise, numerous fragments of gold hammered sheet, many of them decorated with figural or non-figural religious themes (e.g. frontal female goddesses or potniae), were stitched onto luxurious textiles –these have not survived but at times they would have been visible in various settings inside or outside the cave, perhaps in association with ritual objects like the throne of Zeus discussed above. The role of these sumptuous fabrics in practices of concealing or revealing has not been investigated sufficiently in scholarship. Various ancient sources hint at the cave’s reputation as a context for encounters with the numinous.54 This process was not only mediated through the mystique of the space and its artefactual apparatus but through ritual action as well. Textual sources attest the spectacular character of ritual revelatory enactments. For example, the birth of Cretan Zeus, a bloody event could be sensed, according to a writer of the second century C E , as an overwhelming emanation of blindingly luminous fire (Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 19.1.3). The performative dimensions of the cult at the cave cannot be reconstructed but in very broad and tentative brushstrokes.55 Yet, all evidence indicates that in addition to the physical fabric of the cave, the complex nexus of things seen, heard, touched, and felt by worshippers belonged to the realm of the wondrous and the rare. From the vantage point of our secularized era, it is hard to reconstruct the cognitive and emotional disposition of worshippers after their induction to the artefactual and physical otherworldliness of the cave. Researching this disposition is tantamount to asking about the total affect and effect of the cave to the lives of communities and individuals alike. To this end it is worth exploring the peculiar aesthetics of wonder at work generated by the concerted action of the cave, its artefacts, and ritual action. As Philip Fisher has put it, this aesthetics calls attention to “the feeling of radical singularity of means and purposes, to the
64 Nassos Papalexandrou idea of incomparable experiences, to the self-consciously fresh or first work in a technical direction where preparation of seeing it breaks down and gives few clues.”56
Conclusion In this paper, I have reflected on the role of caves as contexts for sensory and cognitive enhancement from the Pleistocene to this day. As religious and philosophical metaphors, or as actual spaces for worship and habitation, caves have always had the capacity to make humans suspend, invert, or reinvent their ordinary conception of the cosmos. As multisensory environments, caves have been frameworks for rare and wondrous experiences of their physicality and their meta-physicality. Tuning into these experiences is not only a cerebral archaeological exercise but also an empathetic immersion to the grassroots or elite religiosity of antiquity. It is worth paying attention to artefacts deposited in cave sanctuaries, especially to how they have been experienced in ways that complement a cave’s affect as natural wonder or as a threshold to other worlds. As a case-in-point, I visited the Idaean Cave on Mount Ida on Crete, admittedly an exceptional case, yet capable of facilitating reflection on world- wide phenomena throughout the ages. My approach was macroscopic as it was premised on the assumption that over long periods of time certain basic “scenic” qualities of the cave’s exterior or interior would have been more or less constant. However, physical environments are dynamic and constantly changing and it is reasonable to suppose that caves have fit in their local or regional contexts in unique ways that have fluctuated over the millennia. Future approaches have to be sensitive to how the physicality of caves and their surrounding environments fluctuated according to varying patterns of climatic cycles. Of equal import is attention to how human actions would have modified, for example, the ambient fauna or flora of a cave. Would the sacredness of the cave have been perceived more intensely in seasons of excessive precipitation? Would the approach adopted in this analysis be different, if we consider that in certain periods Mount Ida was considerably wooded and more heavily exploited than in recent years? These questions become even more complicated, if one factors in the modes of perception of and responses to material and visual culture deposited in caves or around them. Visualities and materialities (modes of seeing and being seen and interacting with visual/material culture) are culturally conditioned. One, therefore, would have to take into consideration the perceptual “software” pilgrims and visitors would have brought with them in order to negotiate the sacred atmosphere of a cave. This article argued that the preciousness and sensory qualities of rare or exotic materials deposited at the Idaean Cave in the Early Iron Age would have helped impart to the cave an otherworldly or Wunderkammer effect. However, it is not certain that all visitors would have reacted to the sensory challenges of the cave’s physicality or artefactuality in
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 65 the same way. Future research would have to focus, for example, on gendered or aged-based perspectives and experiences of the sacred and cultic action inside or around caves. The most serious challenge in our quest to understand caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement is that in the last two centuries archaeological enterprise has transformed numerous caves into archaeological artefacts. A concomitant result is that their artefactual contents can be experienced, as objects of aesthetic contemplation or systematic scholarly study, in contexts (e.g. museums) that offer nothing that would facilitate our understanding of their original mediatory functions. There is no remedy for this disjunction but perhaps sensitive attention to and study of living traditions, especially where caves are still active loci of cult, may point to a way forward.
Notes 1 Gregory and Ševcenko 1991. 2 According to memoirs by Mirzâ Moḥammad Ḥosayn Farâhâni presented in Farmayan and Daniel 1990, 236. 3 Grabar 2006, 133–4 and 168–9. 4 Coningham 1995; Wauchope 1981. 5 Docherty 2008, 102–4; Higuchi and Barnes 1995. 6 Vogt and Stuart 2005, 155. 7 David Stuart, personal communication, November 2017. 8 Vogt and Stuart 2005. 9 Dean 2010. 10 Cartlidge and Elliott 2001. 11 Bacci 2017; Cartlidge and Elliott 2001. 12 Sedley 2007. 13 Tilley 1999. 14 Moyes 2012. 15 Clottes 2016 is a concise synthetic overview of this approach. 16 Clottes 2016; Brady and Prufer 2005; Clottes 2003; Lewis-Williams 1997. 17 Ustinova 2009. 18 Hamilakis 2014; Day 2013, especially the contribution by Yannis Hamilakis (Hamilakis 2013); Pentcheva 2011; Skeates 2010. 19 Bjerk 2012, 49. 20 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 21–34; Verbruggen 1981, 71–99. 21 Stampolidis and Kotsonas 2013; Prent 2005; Jones 1999; Rutkowski and Nowicki 1996. 22 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013. See also Sakellarakis and Sapouna- Sakellarakis 2011, a well-illustrated volume addressed to non-specialist audiences. 23 Stampolidis and Kotsonas 2013; Prent 2005, 367– 405; Sakellarakis 1988; Boardman 1961; Marinatos 1956–57. 24 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 167–8. 25 Impey and McGregor 1985; Pomian 1990; Findlen 1994; Daston and Park 1998; Findlen 2002; Poliquin 2012, 11–42. 26 Pergamon: Kuttner 2015; Alexandria: Miles 2015.
66 Nassos Papalexandrou 27 Onians 1994. His analysis stresses that this period manifested an “excess of novelty” (Onians 1994, 26) and states that the “period between Leonardo and Le Brun, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is the period of wonder, par excellence” (Onians 1994, 16). 28 Findlen 1994, 9; see also Thomas Kaufmann’s characterization of Rudolf II’s famous Kunstkammer in his imperial palace at Prague: “the world in microcosm … expressed his [Rudolf ’s] mastery of the world.” (quoted in Greenblatt 1991, 51). 29 E.g. Psychro or Diktaean Cave; see Watrous 1996; Boardman 1961, 1–75. 30 Fisher 1998. 31 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 2, 205, no 6. 32 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 2, 37–9. 33 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 222–3. 34 Harmansah 2014, 122–3. 35 Tilley 2004, 31. 36 Fermor 1958, 13–14. 37 I will not belabour here on the abundance of the historical and archaeological evidence; see Rackham and Moody 1996. 38 Sakellarakis and Sapouna- Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 176– 206; Verbruggen 1981, 71–99. 39 Papalexandrou 2007. 40 Clottes 2016, 103. 41 Verbruggen 1981, 96. 42 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 149–51 and 222. 43 Verbruggen 1981, 91–9; Marinatos 1956–57. 44 Foucault and Miskowiec 1986. 45 Burkert 1985, 127; Sakellarakis and Sapouna- Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 178; Verbruggen 1981. 46 Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vols. 1 and 2. 47 See Marinatos 1956–57 and the analysis on this issue provided by Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 101, 129–50. 48 Harris 1995. 49 Shaya 2015. 50 Lewis-Williams 1997; Lewis Williams 2002, 204–27; Pentcheva 2011; Ustinova 2009, 13–52. 51 Miles 2016. 52 Nees 1991. 53 Weyl Carr 1999. 54 For example, Euripides, Cretes, fr. 472, 9–19 in Nauck 1889; Strabo, Geogr. X.3.7, 4.8, XVI.2.38; Callimachus, Hymn to Zeus, 6–13, 45–54; Sakellarakis and Sapouna- Sakellarakis 2013, Vol. 1, 21– 33, collect and discuss literary testimonia. 55 Verbruggen 1981, 75–91. 56 Fisher 1998.
Bibliography Bacci, M. 2017. The Mystic Cave: A History of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. Rome: Viella.
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 67 Bjerk, H. B. 2012. On the outer fringe of the human world: Phenomenological perspectives on anthropomorphic cave paintings in Norway. In Caves in Context: The Cultural Significance of Caves and Rockshelters in Europe, eds. K. A. Bergsvik and R. Skeates, 48–64. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Boardman, J. 1961. The Cretan Collection in Oxford: The Dictaean Cave and Iron Age Crete. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Brady, J. and Prufer, K., eds. 2005. In the Maw of the Earth Monster: Mesoamerican Ritual Cave Use. Austin: University of Texas Press. Burkert, W. 1985. Greek Religion. Translated by J. Raffan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cartlidge, D. and Elliott, J. K. 2001. Art and the Christian Apocrypha. London/ New York: Routledge. Clottes, J. 2003. Caves as landscapes. In Rock Art in Landscapes-Landscapes in Rock Art, ed. K. Sognnes, 9–30. Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab, Skrifter 4. Trondheim: Tapir akademisk forlag. Clottes, J. 2016. What Is Paleolithic Art? Cave Paintings and the Dawn of Human Creativity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Coningham, R. 1995. Monks, caves, and kings: A reassessment of the nature of Early Buddhism in Sri Lanka. World Archaeology 27, 222–42. Daston, L. and Park, K. 1998. Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150– 1750. New York: MIT Press/Zone Books. Day, J., ed. 2013. Making Senses of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology. Center for Archaeological Investigations Southern Illinois University Carbondale Occasional Paper 40. Carbondale/Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Dean, C. 2010. A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Docherty, P. 2008. The Khyber Pass. A History of Empire and Invasion. New York: Union Square Press. Farmayan, H. F. and Daniel, E. L., eds. 1990. A Shiʽite Pilgrimage to Mecca 1885–1886. The Safarnâmeh of Mirzâ Moḥammad Ḥosayn Farâhâni. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Fermor, P. L. 1958. Mani. Travels in the Southern Peloponnese. London: Penguin. Findlen, P. 1994. Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy. Berkeley: University of California Press. Findlen, P. 2002. Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science and Art in Early Modern Europe. New York: Routledge. Fisher, P. 1998. Wonder, the Rainbow, and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Foucault, M. and Miskowiec, J. 1986. Of other spaces. Diacritics 16(1), 22–7. Grabar, O. 2006. The Dome of the Rock. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Greenblatt, S. 1991. Resonance and wonder. In Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, eds. I. Karp and S. D. Levine, 42–56. Washington, DC/ London: Smithsonian Institution Press. Gregory, T. and Ševcenko, N. 1991. Patmos. Oxford History of Byzantium 3, 1596–7. Hamilakis, Y. 2013. Afterword: Eleven theses on the archaeology of the senses. In Making Senses of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology, ed. J. Day, 408–19. Center for Archaeological Investigations Southern Illinois University Carbondale Occasional Paper 40. Carbondale/Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
68 Nassos Papalexandrou Hamilakis, Y. 2014. Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Harmansah, O. 2014. Place, Memory, and Healing: Archaeology of Anatolian Rock Monuments. London/New York: Routledge. Harris, D. 1995. The Treasures of the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Higuchi, T. and Barnes, G. 1995. Bamiyan: Buddhist cave temples in Afghanistan. World Archaeology 27, 282–302. Impey, O. and MacGregor, A., eds. 1985. The Origins of Museums: The Cabinet of Curiosities in Sixteenth-and Seventeenth-Century Europe. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Jones, D. W. 1999. Peak Sanctuaries and Sacred Caves in Minoan Crete: Comparison of Artifacts. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology and Literature, Pocket-Book 156. Jonsered: Paul Åströms Förlag. Kuttner, A. 2015. Hellenistic court collecting from Alexandria to the Attalids. In Museum Archetypes and Collecting in the Ancient World, eds. M. Wellington Gahtan and D. Pegazzano, 45–53. Monumenta Graeca et Romana 21. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Lewis-Williams, J. D. 1997. Harnessing the brain: Vision and shamanism in Upper Paleolithic Western Europe. In Beyond Art: Pleistocene Image and Symbol, eds. M. Conkey, O. Soffer and N. Jablonski, 321–42. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 23. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences. Lewis-Williams, J. D. 2002. The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art. New York: Thames & Hudson. Marinatos, S. 1956–57. Το οροπέδιον της Νίδας και το Ιδαίον άντρον. Epistemoniki Epetiris tis Philosophikis Scholis tou Panepistimiou Athinon 7, 239–54. Miles, M. 2015. Collecting the past, creating the future: Art displays in the Hellenistic Mediterranean. In Museum Archetypes and Collecting in the Ancient World, eds. M. Wellington Gahtan and D. Pegazzano, 33–44. Monumenta Graeca et Romana 21. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Miles, M. M. 2016. The interiors of Greek temples. In A Companion to Greek Architecture, ed. M. M. Miles, 206–22. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. Moyes, H., ed. 2012. Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves. Boulder: University Press of Colorado. Nees, L. 1991. A Tainted Mantle: Hercules and the Classical Tradition at the Carolingian Court. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Onians, J. 1994. ‘I wonder…’: A short history of amazement. In Sight & Insight: Essays on Art and Culture in Honour of E. H. Gombrich at 85, ed. J. Onians, 11–34. London: Phaidon Press. Papalexandrou, N. 2007. Constructed landscapes: Visual cultures of violent contact. Stanford Journal of Archaeology 5, 165–82. Pentcheva, B. 2011. Hagia Sophia and multisensory aesthetics. Gesta 50(2), 93–107. Polinquin, R. 2012. The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press. Pomian, K. 1990. Collectors and Curiosities: Paris and Venice, 1500–1800. Translated by E. Wiles-Portier. Cambridge: Polity Press. Prent, M. 2005. Cretan Sanctuaries and Cults: Continuity and Change from Late Minoan IIIC to the Archaic Period. Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 154. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Rackham, O. and Moody, J. 1996. The Making of the Cretan Landscape. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Caves, sensory and cognitive enhancement 69 Rutkowski, B. and Nowicki, K. 1996. The Psychro Cave and Other Sacred Grottoes in Crete. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology and Civilization II,1. Art and Archaeology. Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences. Sakellarakis, J. A. 1988. The Idaean cave. Minoan and Greek worship. Kernos 1, 207–14. Sakellarakis, Y. and Sapouna-Sakellaraki, E. 2011. Ιδαίο Άντρο: Το σπήλαιο του Δία και οι θησαυροί του. Athens: Miletos. Sakellarakis, Y. and Sapouna-Sakellaraki, E. 2013. Το Ιδαίο Άντρο. Ιερό και μαντείο, Vols. 1–3. Vivliotheke tes en Athenais Archaiologikes Hetaireias, 279– 81. Athens: The Archaeological Society at Athens. Sedley, D. 2007. Philosophy, the forms, and the art of ruling. In The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic, ed. G. R. F. Ferrari, 256–83. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shaya, J. 2015. Greek temple treasures and the invention of collecting. In Museum Archetypes and Collecting in the Ancient World, eds. M. Wellington Gahtan and D. Pagazzano, 24–32. Monumenta Graeca et Romana 21. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Skeates, R. 2010. An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stampolidis, N. and Kotsonas, A. 2013. Cretan cave sanctuaries of the Early Iron Age to the Roman period. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 188–200. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Tilley, C. 1999. Metaphor and Material Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. Tilley, C. 2004. The Materiality of Stone. Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology. Oxford: Berg. Ustinova, Y. 2009. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind: Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Verbruggen, H. 1981. Le Zeus Crétois. Paris: Les Belles Lettres. Vogt, E. and Stuart, D. 2005. Some notes on ritual caves among the ancient and modern Maya. In In the Maw of the Earth Monster: Mesoamerican Ritual Cave Use, eds. J. Brady and K. Prufer, 155–85. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Watrous, L. V. 1996. The Cave Sanctuary of Zeus at Psychro: A Study of Extra- Urban Sanctuaries in Minoan Crete and Early Iron Age. Aegaeum 15. Liège: Université de Liège, Histoire de l’art et archéologie de la Grèce antique/Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin, Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory. Wauchope, R. S. 1981. The Buddhist Caves Temples of India. New Delhi: Cosmo. Weyl Carr, A. 1999. Thoughts on the economy of the image of Mary. Theology Today 56(3), 359–78.
4 Caves and consumption The case of Polis Bay, Ithaca Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward
Introduction An ongoing programme, directed by Andreas Darlas and Stella Katsarou of the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology (EPS), to map and characterise diachronic cave use in Aitoloakarnania and the central Ionian islands, affords a welcome opportunity to think broadly about the role of caves in religious practice.1 Caves are highly diverse physical spaces; elements in larger maritime and terrestrial environments; and, as locations implicated in ritual practice, places of sensory experience and facilitators of the activities practiced in and around them. By contrast with discussions that presuppose the spatial qualities of caves,2 this project puts the diverse impacts and affordances of cave environments at the forefront of enquiry. This chapter focuses on one case study, the so-called “cave” sanctuary in Polis bay on the northwest coast of Ithaca. Although commonly characterised as a hero shrine to Odysseus from the Early Iron Age (an interpretation based largely on a Homer-inspired reading of series of tripod dedications), epigraphic evidence placing Odysseus at the site does not predate the second century BC E (IG IX.12, 4, 1615). Attention has nonetheless focused on Polis as a maritime destination frequented by passing sailors –the proto-colonial Odysseus-like figures of Irad Malkin’s Returns of Odysseus.3 Yet this view is based on just part of the published portion of the material excavated by Sylvia Benton (1887–1985) for the British School at Athens (BSA) in 1930– 1932.4 By focusing on the richest votives of one period, it privileges individual dedications over the collective events indicated by the bulk of the assemblage throughout the life of the shrine and, by implication, external activity over local interests and agency. The different view presented here is based on restudy of all the surviving excavated material, undertaken, together with a new geological survey, as part of a programme to publish fully and re-evaluate the inter-war work of the BSA in northern Ithaca.5 Setting aside Neolithic and Early Helladic evidence, some 4,000 Late Mycenaean to Late Roman objects serve to document diachronic development in the use of the Polis “cave.”6 Cult activity spanning the Early Iron Age at least to the Early/Middle Roman period can now be considered in its full local and regional context,
Caves and consumption 71 examining the potential constituency and interests represented, long-term trends in material behaviour, and the uses to which particular spaces were put. The EPS research programme affords a valuable opportunity to approach the Polis sanctuary from a comparative perspective. Of the 36 caves in the islands and neighbouring areas so far explored to some degree (a figure which continues to rise), 23 (plus two further beach side deposits) were used as cult places in historical times (the remainder are too poorly understood to characterise) (Figure 4.1). Certain of these cult caves, notably Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia7 and Boliatso Cave in north central Leukas, have produced Early Iron Age to Hellenistic materials contemporary with the major phases of activity at Polis. All of them lie near points of passage, from uplands to lowlands, land to sea, and/or along sea routes. Many afford commanding views. Yet they vary greatly in form, environment, and affordance, and in the potential sensory impact on participants in ritual events. For example, Marmarospilia (the Cave of the Nymphs) in southern Ithaca is a large, deep cavern which entirely enclosed the rituals performed within it.8 Drakaina, while accessed via a steep and difficult path, has a large, horizontal chamber which is now relatively open (although subject to episodes of collapse over many centuries): it contains built features including an altar.9 Boliatso Cave has a sunken chamber, easy to access but too small for any significant gatherings: rituals probably took place on a plateau in front of it and on the surrounding slopes. Polis is different again (hence we refer to it as a “cave” in quotation marks).
Polis “cave”: Geology and topography (by Chris Hayward) The small, curved shingle beach of Polis bay formed where an approximately northwest-southeast-trending fault reaches the coast. This fault separates the hard, Upper Triassic Pantokratora crystalline limestone to the southwest, from softer Oligocene-Miocene (Tertiary) flysch to the northeast (Figure 4.2 Above). The faulted Pantokratora limestone forms a vertical cliff marking the southwestern edge of the archaeological site. The flysch forms a steep cliff to the north of the site, with its lower slope covered by talus and vegetation. The fault is marked by a soft, easily eroded 2 m wide zone of pulverized rock – a “fault gouge”, which separates the rock units on either side (Figure 4.2 Below). There is evidence of multiple episodes of movement of the fault but none during periods that include the archaeological evidence. The fault gouge has been eroded towards the northwest for a distance of 15 m and the flysch over 6 m from the location of the archaeological site. The fault and properties of the two lithologies have controlled the topography of this location throughout the periods that encompass the archaeological evidence and for considerable time prior to this. Geological observations made during Benton’s 1932 excavation10 misunderstood the geology and consequently the site formation processes, leading to the erroneous interpretation of the evidence as being consistent with a collapsed cave. Most significant in contributing to the
72 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward
Figure 4.1 Cave shrines and beach cult deposits in the central Ionian islands and neighbouring areas (beach deposits in italics). 1: Koudounotrypa (Arta); 2: Paliambela (Vonitsa); 3: Alyzeia (Drymon); 4: Ag. Nikolaos (Astakos); 5: Mastro; 6: Asvotrypa (Phryni); 7: Karyotes (Taxiarches); 8: Choirotrypa (Apolpaina); 9: Langada (Kavalos); 10: Boliatso (Kavalos); 11: Chortata; 12: Ag. Kyriaki (Nidri); 13: Choirospilia; 14: Cyclops Cave (Meganisi); 15: Limonari; 16: Marmarospilia; 17: Piso Aetos; 18: Brosta Aetos; 19: Polis “cave”; 20: Drakospilia; 21: Gravaris; 22: Melissani; 23: Zervati; 24: Koulourata; 25: Drakaina. Map: G. P. Milani.
Caves and consumption 73
Figure 4.2 Above: Geological map of the Polis bay site and adjacent areas showing the location of the fault and cliff in Pantokratora limestone. Redrawn by C. Hayward from Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME), Geological Map of Greece, 1:50,000, Ithaki and Atokos Islands, Athens, 1985. Below: View of the site showing features described in the text. Illustration: C. Hayward.
misinterpretation was the failure to recognise the fault and its effects on local topography. Fault movements created fractures and brittle fragmentation in the adjacent rocks. This enabled increased rates and amounts of rainwater penetration and consequent speleothem formation, weakening the Pantokratora limestone and Tertiary flysch nearest to the fault. The fault gouge and flysch to the northeast of the fault are relatively soft and eroded away during the recent geological past, leaving the limestone exposed and unsupported. From the resulting, weakened limestone cliff, blocks and slabs up to several metres across were eroded and fell to the ground below. The sometimes-violent
74 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward
Figure 4.3 View of the Pantokratora limestone cliff and beach showing scar from fallen slabs, the position of slabs on the beach, and locations of the fault and flysch. Illustration: C. Hayward.
earthquakes affecting the region will have accelerated erosion on occasion. The scars from some of the most recent fallen blocks of limestone are visible in the cliff face (Figure 4.3), including those from the detachment of large slab-like blocks, which comprise the “thin, curving slab of rock” observed in 1930.11 Benton’s description of the site stratigraphy indicates that these slabs fell from the cliff after the reconstruction of the sanctuary in Hellenistic times.12 Within the limestone cliff, evidence of weathering and erosion is visible in numerous, debris-filled fractures. The largest of these is a near vertical fracture, within which fallen angular blocks of limestone up to a metre across lie within a matrix of smaller fragments and pink-coloured lithified fine-grained fill (right of centre, Figure 4.3). Weathering and erosion of the fill have created a step-like feature in the cliff face. Smaller fractures with rubbly fill are seen elsewhere in the cliff, including examples to the left of centre and left edge of Figure 4.3. The near vertical orientation of the fault means that the Pantokratora limestone cannot ever have extended more than 2–3 m further to the northeast than the position of the present cliff, which is therefore very close to possible locations during antiquity. Importantly for the site, this precludes the Pantokratora limestone from having formed a roof above the excavated area to the northeast of the fault. The fault gouge and adjacent, tectonically
Caves and consumption 75 weakened flysch were eroded back towards the position of the current cliff formed by these units long before occupation of the site, rather than after the fourth century BCE as implied by Benton.13 Erosion rates appear slow – excavation photographs14 show that, with the exception of the removal of soil and fallen blocks during the excavation, the topography of the site had remained essentially unchanged between 1930 and the latest observations for the current research in 2005. There is nothing to suggest that these rates have differed since antiquity. As the limestone cliff fails by the spalling of slabs of up to 1–1.5 m thickness and detachment boulders of sizes between tens of centimetres and 1.5 m, it is likely that no significant niches, alcove-like structures (wider than 2 m) –and no caves –could have existed in the cliff face. Certainly, nothing of this sort could have extended across the excavated area, as this would have been occupied by the fault gouge and flysch –long since eroded by the time of the earliest archaeological evidence. The large, chimney-like fracture to the right of centre in Figure 4.3 and the smaller one nearby to the southeast suggest the possibility of an alcove-like indentation within the cliff. If such a feature existed during antiquity it would have been small –with floor area of at most 2 sq. m. and would have been unroofed. However, there is no way to be certain that these features (or anything similar) existed during the periods of use of the site. The cliff has suffered multiple episodes of erosion over millennia, and descriptions of excavation stratigraphy15 make no reference to features within the cliff, but only to the (now absent) wall, whose orientation bridges the Pantokratora limestone cliff and flysch talus slope, and is also oriented in apparent sympathy with the probable ancient coastline. Approximately 40 m northeast of the limestone cliff are two small, narrow caves within the flysch, known locally as the Caves of Loizos. These caves are not discussed in the excavation reports, and there is no evidence that they contained antiquities (reported finds come entirely from the open-air area at the foot of the limestone cliff). They are, however, illustrated in one of the published plans16 and are used for the dumping of excavation spoil. They formed as a result of fracturing parallel to the stresses responsible for the fault to the southwest. Whatever the reason for choosing the Polis site, the presence of a cave appears not to have been required for the activities carried out there. Even though no reference is made to them in the publication, it is possible that their presence influenced the interpretation of the site’s palaeotopography. At the Polis bay site, the setting was never a cave. The geological evidence demonstrates that the entire site would have been open to the sky throughout its archaeological history. It was enclosed on one side by a vertical cliff, on another by a less steeply sloping cliff with a narrow tapering space between these, caused by the fault and leading towards the narrow, un-eroded fault gouge.17 Discounting the presence of a cave (and most probably any rock shelter of significant size) at the Polis site requires a re-evaluation of the
76 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward physical environment and the responses suggested by the human activities performed there.
Activity in and around the Polis “cave” sanctuary Even though the name Polis “cave” is established in the literature, the feature itself should now be understood as an open-air area at the foot of a limestone cliff. Since it afforded only a small space for gatherings, depending on their scale, the neighbouring plain may have been preferred: but it may have served as a place of dedication and display, a votive store, and/or a repository for the remains of such gatherings. In keeping with its former identification as a cave, and as is common in discussion of cave shrines, attention has tended to focus on votives, and in the case of pottery, on selected vessels interpreted as offerings (or containers for offerings) or as connected to cult practice. Although analysis of the total ceramic assemblage is key to understanding the nature and scale of activity at any sanctuary, this has rarely been undertaken at cave sites (indeed, in many cases pottery was often not systematically retrieved and/or retained). Instead, it is often assumed that caves attracted simple, personal offerings rather than larger organised events, even when this is an argument from silence.18 At Polis, it has proved possible to trace most of the material recovered (even though the site was excavated some 90 years ago) and to reconstruct the practices of the BSA expedition with regard to the study and retention of finds.19 A chronological overview of the ceramic assemblage (Figure 4.4) reveals a consistent level of activity at least through the fourth century, with peaks in the eighth and fifth, followed by a steady diminution from the third century
400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 14th
Figure 4.4 Polis “cave”: Ceramic finds by century. Graph: C. Morgan.
Caves and consumption 77 to the third century C E (by which time there is only slight evidence of cult activity). The graph expresses the probability that a particular sherd dates within a given century. This approach can conceal potential peaks when sherds are undiagnostic and/or styles long-lasting (as for much of the Early Iron Age), but units of complete centuries mitigate uncertainties arising from a generally fragmentary assemblage and distortion when particular phases of stylistic change are highly recognisable in sherd (as, for example, in the late eighth and early seventh century). Figure 4.4 is thus a conservative statement of probability and a starting point for discussion of trends, continuities, and change. The next step is to consider functional aspects of the ceramic assemblage by period. In order to include as much of the sherd material as possible and to draw out large-scale shifts and underlying patterns, vessel shapes are grouped into broad functional categories. These are: transport (amphorae); storage (pithoi, but also more portable jars suitable for domestic storage but too large for the table); kitchen and cookwares for the preparation of food; “drinking” (i.e. small open shapes for individual portions of drink or semi-liquid food); serving (basin, kraters, jugs etc.); tableware (shapes such as small bowls or saucers which could have contributed to the serving of ritual meals or contained food offerings); “oil” (containers for perfumes, oils, or unguents, i.e. for contents which may have been offered or intended to enhance the atmosphere or add flavour to a meal); and toilet vessels (i.e. personal possessions, in this case almost exclusively pyxides which may also have contained offerings). The first three categories are clearly connected to the provision and service of food and drink, and the fourth likely so: the last two relate to other forms of offering, although oils and perfumes may contribute to the sensory appreciation of an occasion. Indisputably ritual forms and miniature vessels are considered separately. The initial chronological divisions are also broad: Late Bronze Age (c. 1400–1200 BCE ), Transitional Bronze-Iron Age (c. 1200–1000 B C E ); Early Iron Age (c. 1000–800 BCE ); eighth century (800–700 B C E ); long Archaic (725–480 BCE ); Classical-Early Hellenistic (480– 250 B C E ); later Hellenistic–Middle Roman (c. 250 BCE –300 C E ). Closer focus is deployed as necessary to elucidate particular patterns and transformations. A major shift in the nature of activity, consistent with the establishment of cult, took place at the start of the Early Iron Age (i.e. in the tenth century) (Figure 4.5). The Late Bronze Age and Transitional assemblages balanced vessels for consumption with those for bulk storage and serving (“oil” in this case exclusively describes stirrup jars). This pattern is widely paralleled in the central Ionian islands in settlements (as at Stavros, at the head of the Polis valley) and in caves close to the sea and/or cultivable land (as the Cave of the Cyclops on Meganisi).20 By contrast, during the Early Iron Age, the striking dominance of small open vessels for individual portions of liquids or semi- liquid foods, far beyond what might be expected in a settlement, suggests ritual consumption. The range of vessel shapes and decoration remained small until the second half of the eighth century, almost all being local or BCE
78 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward
300 250 200 150 100 50
Late Bronze Age
Late Bronze Age
Figure 4.5 Polis “cave”: Functional analysis of ceramic assemblages of the Late Bronze Age (sample size 422), Transitional (372), Early Iron Age (444), and eighth century BC E (309), with a representative selection of shapes. Graphs and photographs: C. Morgan.
regional products. The overall impression is of tailored provision for occasional gatherings featuring communal consumption at a remote location. Similar such gatherings held at Isthmia, Amyklae, Mount Lykaion, Olympia, and on the Trapeza hill near Aigion (to name but a few sites)21 confirm this as a widespread mode of elite association, communication, and
Caves and consumption 79 ritual throughout the Early Iron Age. I have argued elsewhere that the choice of Polis bay for such an event may reflect a number of factors.22 The hill of Roussano at its north end is the most northerly point regularly visible from the acropolis of Aetos (the major Ithacesian settlement when cult activity was established). And the bay itself is a good landing point, affording shelter for sailors and ready access for neighbouring communities over the water, from Same on Kephallonia to Leukas, enabling them to join in inter-island occasions (a rarely considered aspect of life in an archipelago). Two main questions remain. The first concerns the role of local agency in determining the nature and location of gatherings and making practical arrangements for them.23 The contrast, in terms of variety and range of functions, between the Early Iron Age ceramic assemblages at Polis and at the central shrine at Aetos is instructive. Within the town, the greater similarity of settlement and sanctuary assemblages underlines the difference between provision for local cult activity (where vessels could readily be sourced)24 and for that at more distant sites to which selected equipment and supplies had to be transported. In the case of Polis, this applies at least until the resumption of settlement at Stavros (on present evidence in the late seventh or early sixth century).25 The conclusion that the elite of Aetos were instrumental in the initial planning is reinforced by complementarity in the interests and activities represented at the Polis and Aetos shrines, and the mirroring of increased investment and expansion of external connections during the eighth and early seventh centuries.26 The second question, the specific role played by the space at the foot of the cliff (formerly termed the “cave”) in the landscape of cult practice in Polis bay, relates more directly to the central themes of this volume. It was a place of deposition of vessels linked to consumption and, in time, of purpose made votives (as figurines or miniature vessels) which represent increasingly wide social and geographical interests. In the case of votives, it could have been the primary location of deposition and display (although no evidence of an altar survives here or anywhere else nearby). But vessels for consumption were deposited at the final stage in a sequence of events probably conducted for the most part elsewhere around the bay. Whether these deposits represent refuse, the full set of equipment used at each gathering, or a selection made for a particular symbolic purpose is difficult to determine, but it has a major impact on our ability to reconstruct the scale of events over time.27 Understanding the structure of deposition from old excavation reports is challenging. By the time that Sylvia Benton excavated at Polis, the site had already been disturbed by trenches opened by the landowner, Dimitrios Loizos, in 1868 (observed by Schliemann) and by Wilhelm Vollgraff in 1904.28 Nonetheless, Benton observed a stratigraphic distinction between prehistoric material (Transitional included) and Geometric- Hellenistic artefacts, the latter associated with “rubbish, clay, gravel, and stones.”29 She found it difficult to trace clear strata within this later material, although this is hardly surprisingly if, as suggested by the contextual information recorded
80 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward on individual sherds, material collected after each gathering was laid down beside and above earlier deposits in an essentially open area, exposed to post-depositional disturbance. The relatively high proportion of large sherds and restorable vessels of all periods cannot be ascribed entirely to selective retention in the 1930s, as smaller, more abraded sherds are also preserved. Rather, it suggests that deposits contained vessels that were either complete when deposited or recently broken (perhaps deliberately) and deposited in fragments (with further post-depositional fragmentation then inevitable). A useful point of comparison is a group of late Archaic-Classical deposits of ash and whole vessels on the Fitzgerald plot on the opposite slopes of Polis bay. As the excavator, Gerasimos Livitsanis, concludes, these probably commemorated occasional feasts and were left exposed to view after deposition.30 Remains by the cliff cannot automatically be treated as the result of the same depositional practices, not least because the relationship between the two sites, and between the groups involved in feasting, remains unclear (and the extent of remains in the valley as a whole is unknown).31 Nonetheless, there are sufficient similarities to make comparison a useful heuristic exercise. Returning to the question of the physical space, Benton describes a number of features evidently designed to organise the space or aid display (Figure 4.6). She reports workmen’s recollections of a foundation excavated by Loizos above sea level but no longer visible (he had removed cut sandstone blocks to his house at Kalyvia).32 Benton saw well-finished blocks with a marginal moulding built into the house. These are still visible in the ruins and, on the reasonable assumption that they are ancient, probably come from a base (Benton tentatively suggested an altar but there is no further evidence of this). Caution is required, however, as the report is second-hand, no evidence is preserved in situ, Loizos collected widely, and worked stones are now dispersed in the bay area (some built into terrace walls). Benton herself excavated a low wall of unworked stones that she dated no earlier than 300 BC E on stratigraphic grounds and interpreted as evidence for a reorganisation of the space (noting that Hellenistic and Roman offerings were only found behind it).33 The published excavation plan records an arrangement of stones consistent with a rubble wall. As drawn, it is hard to see how this could be other than human-made, although if the blocks are recorded accurately, they are smaller than those now visible. No trace of this wall survives, nor any record in excavation photographs. Its existence in the 1930s must therefore be taken on trust. Both this and Loizos’ supposed foundation appear to date to the later stages of the sanctuary. Benton also reports a thick deposit of ash packed against the exterior of the rubble wall and a black deposit over and outside it.34 While no longer preserved, they are surely anthropogenic and almost certainly relate to the ritual deposits made here. By contrast, the various floor surfaces and areas of pavement reported by Benton (including a small area on which, as she suggests, aryballoi may have been grouped)35 are highly likely to include natural features. In general, Benton looked for
Caves and consumption 81
Figure 4.6 Above: Plan and section of the BSA excavation at Polis. Reproduced by permission of the BSA. Below: Ancient blocks in the ruins of Loizos’ house at Kalyvia. Photograph: C. Morgan.
82 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward human-made features and stratigraphy and did not take fully into account ongoing natural processes, such as spalling of blocks from the sides of the cliff, beach-rock growth, and minor fluctuations in sea level, as responsible for continuing post-depositional alterations.
Change and continuity in material behaviour Gatherings featuring consumption (of drink and probably food) are the oldest and longest-lasting form of activity at the Polis bay shrine. They surely relied on local agency, initially from Aetos and later island wide as new settlements were established further north. And they form the context within which to assess the innovation of monumental metal dedications (initially tripods), without recourse to passing sailors or allusions to Odysseus. Tripods and cauldrons were popular among western elites: those in the largest tumulus in the Protogeometric Stamna cemetery immediately predate the Polis finds,36 and dedications at Dodona and Olympia are obvious parallels. Dodona in particular has an eighth- to sixth-century BCE sequence of bronze tripods, defensive armour, and symposium vessels similar to that found on a much smaller scale at Polis.37 The place of manufacture of the tripods dedicated at Polis remains uncertain, since despite stylistic similarities to examples from Olympia and Delphi, analysis of their fabric (including adhering remnants of clay mantle) indicates a distinct but as yet unlocated group.38 That these tripods fit elite dedicatory practice across the wider region should not obscure the fact that the Polis shrine was rich in the context of the archipelago. Nonetheless, the Ithacesian dimension is essential to their biographies, and their presence raises practical questions about the guardianship of a desirable resource in a readily accessible location. By the second quarter of the seventh century, a locally produced apotropaic sculpture –a rare coil-built terracotta sphinx –gave symbolic protection (the piece is freestanding, but we lack evidence for how it was displayed).39 More practical oversight of boundaries and liminal zones on the island is indicated by the mention of peripoloi in a mid- sixth-century inscription from Polis bay (IG IX.12, 4, 1614) which records a dedication made by them to Athena polias and Hera teleia.40 The IG editors describe these peripoloi as patrollers of city territory, citing parallels from Classical Athens and military offices notably in Hellenistic Illyria. It is a leap to infer a formal military institution on Ithaca at this date, but a general sense of those who watch, guard, wander, or patrol is clear. Where these peripoloi were active remains an open question.41 However, the choice of Polis for their dedication and the naming of Athena polias in particular speak to the role of the shrine for the polis of the Ithacesians. The major change in the ceramic assemblage in the Archaic period (Figure 4.7) is the appearance of significant numbers of perfume and unguent containers –conical oinochoae, aryballoi, and alabastra –beginning late in the eighth century and becoming increasingly popular through the seventh and early sixth. The vessels themselves may have been offered as personal
Caves and consumption 83
250 200 150 100 50 0
Figure 4.7 Polis “cave”: Functional analysis of ceramic assemblages of the long Archaic (late eighth-early fifth century BC E ) (sample size 639) and Classical periods (135), with a representative selection of shapes. Continuing shapes (e.g. transport amphorae) are included in Archaic totals. Graph and photographs: C. Morgan.
possessions (as may a few toilet vessels, all pyxides), but their contents would have enriched the atmosphere of any ritual gathering. These shapes were also amongst the earliest offered in the cemetery of the newly established settlement at Stavros from the late seventh century onwards. Corinthian imports
84 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward were common throughout, but local/regional imitations, and East Greek, Attic, and Laconian(ising) imports, are also represented.42 Alongside this innovation, the Archaic ceramic repertoire shows continuing emphasis on consumption. Small open shapes remain the largest single group, but an increase in serving vessels may indicate more fragmented provision, smaller serving groups, and/or the local availability of vessels following the renewal of settlement in and around Stavros (a possible factor behind the addition of kitchen vessels as well as transport amphorae, all in the Corinthian tradition). Ritual drinking is also central to the symbolism of later Archaic and Classical miniature vessels: popular in all cave shrines across the region,43 at Polis they consist entirely of kotylai and kraters. Two further developments speak to wider regional developments in votive practice following the colonisation of Leukas and Ambracia around 630 B C E . The first is the inclusion among bronze dedications of table vessels at a time when northwestern products, often attributed to Ambracia, began to be more widely distributed (symposium equipment is prominent among seventh-and sixth-century bronze dedications at Dodona).44 This forms part of a long history of deposition of metal vessels of varying forms in ritual contexts on Ithaca –for example, two contexts in the area of feasting deposits on the opposite side of Polis bay (on the Fitzgerald plot) include an early fifth- century cauldron (in Pyre 2) and a late fifth-or fourth-century bronze tripod stand (in Pit RP).45 The second development is the dedication of terracotta figurines: dedications on any scale began during the sixth century (finds of the second half of the seventh century are few). The Polis assemblage from the BSA excavations includes some 386 items of the Archaic to Hellenistic periods (many very fragmentary), by regional standards a small assemblage for a shrine of this size and weighted towards the latter end of the period (from later Classical on).46 To judge from the fabrics represented, the greater part of the assemblage was produced either in colonial workshops (from Leukas or Ambracia) or “locally,” i.e. somewhere in the islands with Ithacesian production evident especially at the later end. A preliminary assessment of the assemblage by Ioannis Mylonopoulos focuses on style and the wide range of influences evident;47 this must however be read alongside fabrics and the diverse and increasingly well-documented repertoires of regional workshops. In addition to the types presented by Mylonopoulos, the Archaic-Classical group includes many unpublished fragments from the ring dances widely favoured across the region, confirming the impression that figurines in particular express connections across the central Ionian archipelago and with the colonial world of Leukas and Ambracia. Overall, therefore, the Archaic assemblage at Polis reveals strong continuity in established rituals, explicit identification of one part of the worshipping community (and the deities concerned), and the addition of dedicatory practices shared with communities with which Ithaca was in close contact. A broadly similar picture is evident in Classical times, when the ceramic repertoire expands to include a significant range of the table shapes (plates,
Caves and consumption 85 small bowls, saltcellars, etc.) which are well represented in contemporary domestic settings (although one cannot discount the possibility that in a sanctuary they were used to offer food). Examples from Polis are mostly local or northwestern products with some Attic imports but no securely identifiable South Italian. Overall, there is a close connection between the range and origin of ceramics in the cave shrine, the feasting deposits on the Fitzgerald plot, and graves and settlement-related fills in modern Stavros.48 Given the long history of consumption commemorated in the Polis “cave”, whether deposits elsewhere in the valley represent a spatial extension as events grew in scale or alternative places of deposition significant for particular groups or communities is an important, if currently unanswerable, question. A persuasive case has been made by Gerasimos Livitsanis for the specific role of local communities near Polis bay and across northern Ithaca in the feasting commemorated in the Fitzgerald plot deposits.49 Whatever the case, it is highly likely that equipment for events was by now locally supplied. The appearance of cooking pots and vessels in cookware fabrics similar to those found at Aetos and Stavros also suggests that food was prepared nearby. This material is mostly very fragmentary and does not compare in volume with, for example, the large collection of unflanged cookpots and lopades from the cave of Boliatso on Leukas.50 This may reflect collection practices in the 1930s, but the proximity of settlement might also suggest that cooked food was brought to Polis, whereas food at the more remote site of Boliatso was prepared in situ (how this was organised and what was consumed are subjects of ongoing research). Greek cookware is generally hard to date independently, making occurrences in closed contexts –as the lidded lopadia in the later Classical pyre 3 on the Fitzgerald plot –especially valuable.51 At Polis, the most closely datable cookwares are Hellenistic: lopades, stewpots, braziers, and lids in a variety of local and imported fabrics complement tableware (now proportionately more prominent in the assemblage) which echoes wider trends in table settings, with greater focus on individual portions and functional specificity (Figure 4.8). The Polis repertoire is especially close to that at the major new Late Classical-Middle Roman settlement at Agios Athanasios, located to access the northern sea-lanes and with a particularly rich repertoire of imports from Asia Minor to Campania.52 Cookwares also reflect these connections: petrographic analysis of Neolithic to Late Roman coarse and cooking wares from sites on Ithaca and eastern Kephallonia, conducted by Areti Pentedeka at the Fitch Laboratory of the BSA, serves to document local potting traditions and to show how Ithacesians engaged with the pre-Roman trade networks of Corinth and Aegina, and those of Asia Minor and central Italy in Hellenistic and Roman times. Following a long period of reliance on local or local/regional products, this research reveals a massive increase in imports from the Hellenistic period onwards at all major sites on the island, Polis included.53 From the fourth century on, the figure of Odysseus was prominently deployed to express Ithacesian identity within an increasingly connected
86 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward
150 100 50 0
Late Hellenistic-Middle Roman
Figure 4.8 Polis “cave”: Functional analysis of ceramic assemblages of the Hellenistic (sample size 639) and Hellenistic-Middle Roman periods (135), with a representative selection of shapes. Graph and photographs: C. Morgan.
Adriatic, where shared histories, relationships, and affinities were commonly articulated via tales of heroes (and especially returning heroes or nostoi). Odysseus, as an indisputably local hero, was linked to a range of polis institutions from coinage to the constitution.54 His association with the Polis shrine, attested in the second-century dedicatory inscription ΕΥΧΗΝ ΟΔΥΣΣΕΙ on a terracotta protome (IG IX.12, 4, 1615), must be seen in this context of identity assertion rather than as evidence of the fundamental nature of the sanctuary. As noted, the construction of a wall after c. 300 B C E implies a reorganisation (or at least a new framing) of the space used for offerings (Figure 4.6). Feasting continued to be commemorated, but figurines became much more prominent (especially the stylised protomes which form the largest groups at the sanctuary),55 and a small number of the Early Iron Age tripods may have been redisplayed. Most tripod fragments are stratigraphically much earlier, but two were found on top of the wall foundation and two more in front of it. Since there is no reason to assume that they were brought to the shrine at this late date, it is interesting to consider their potential deployment as objects of affect, recalling ritual tradition, local history, and/or Ithacesian myth-history according to the perceptions of the beholder.56
Caves and consumption 87 As we approach the final chapter in the long history of ritual at the site, the place of the Polis shrine in wider Adriatic networks becomes increasingly salient. While there is substantially more Late Hellenistic-transitional Early/ Middle Roman material than sometimes supposed (Figure 4.8), the sharp decline in evidence for organised consumption is plain. Instead, the graffito left by Epaphroditus Novi, a perfume seller on the via Sacra in Rome, when he visited in 35 B C E ,57 hints at the site’s role as a maritime way point with evocative connotations of a now widely shared heroic past. The story of the Polis shrine, and of Ithaca as a whole, in Roman times has yet to be fully explored. It is, however, an important study in its own right which is beyond the scope of this chapter.
Conclusion Reappraisal of old excavation data from Polis in the light of recent research leads to a number of conclusions relevant to the wider themes of this volume. First, in studying human use of any cave or related feature, geology and the impact of continuing natural processes must be fully integrated into examination of the material record affecting both depositional and post-depositional histories. Furthermore, the affordance of the feature in question should be considered in relation to activities attested in the record. Placing topographic features such as cliffs, rock shelters, and caves within the wider physical landscape enables fuller and more nuanced assessment of how they could practically have contained or supported particular activities, how they were experienced and accessed by participants, and how they contributed to the conduct and atmosphere of particular rituals. These points may seem straightforward to those used to the treatment of caves by prehistorians, yet they are rarely addressed in historical work especially on cult sites, where caves often appear as a category tout court, with little attention to the diversity of space, environment, and activity. In the case of Polis, activity perhaps focused on the coastal plain, with commemoration and dedication in an open area by a cliff conspicuous at least from the land. Two actual small caves nearby (the Caves of Loizos) were not used, perhaps because as very small, enclosed spaces, they concealed rather than displayed their contents. Secondly, scholarship on cave shrines in particular has tended to focus on distinctive types of votive –figurines, bronzes, inscriptions, etc. Yet, the backbone of any sanctuary record is the complete ceramic assemblage, which allows insight into group events rather than just personal offerings and into the agents involved. At Polis, analysis of this assemblage reinstates the role of local agency in determining or negotiating the shape of ritual activity and making practical provision for it. It reveals a local ritual tradition of greater antiquity than cave cults elsewhere on Kephallonia and Leukas, and an accretion of material practices and patterns of import that reflects Ithacesian local identities, and regional and long-distance connectivity in more specific ways. Although over a century of scholarship has approached
88 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward the material record of this site in purportedly “Homeric” terms, the sanctuary had a broader purpose and involved a shifting set of local, regional, and international interests. Cave shrines across the central Ionian archipelago and neighbouring Aitoloakarnania formed an integral part of a cultic landscape of ever greater complexity. Although the effect of our research has been to remove Polis from the category of cave, the excavated remains represent cult activities adjacent to a significant natural feature. This feature is properly considered alongside the diverse range of caves and cognate features so prominent in the Ionian islands. Religious activity across the archipelago cannot be understood simply from the perspective of the traditional “temple plus temenos.” As the case of Polis confirms, caves and related shrines were not here marginal locations for the expression of personal interests but were integral to polis religion.
Notes 1 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17. 2 E.g. Ustinova 2009, 1: “Caves hid awe-inspiring secrets and treasures, they served as shelters or places of seclusion, they could be exciting, mysterious, or frightening, but they were always numinous.” Sporn 2013 reviews evidence for worship in Greek caves but does not address variation in space and environment. 3 Malkin 1998, 94–119. 4 Benton 1934–35; Benton 1938–39. 5 Particular thanks are due to the British School at Athens and to the successive Directors of the responsible Ephorate of Antiquities, Michalis Petropoulos, Andreas Sotiriou, Antonis Vassilakis, Olympia Vikatou, and Grigorios Grigorakakis. The assistance of the BSA Archivist, Amalia Kakissis, and the former custodian of Stavros Museum, Foteini Kouvara, is gratefully acknowledged. 6 Benton 1938–39 remains the best guide to the range of material and approximate quantities in each category; Deoudi 2009 presents (with inaccuracies) a less representative selection of items: her account of the physical space (321–4, 356–60) is highly misleading. 7 Karadima 2020 and in this volume. 8 The cave is described by Gell 1807, 40–7; excavations by Nikolaos Kyparissis in 1931 and Sarantis Symeonoglou (1998–2001) are unpublished. 9 See Karadima, this volume, Figure 5.1. 10 Benton 1934–35, 47–8. 11 Benton 1934–35, 47–8. These blocks are rare features on the beach that remain after the excavations, most fallen blocks and all architectural remains having been removed. The preservation of the fallen blocks and some features in the limestone cliff are sufficient to permit the reconstruction of Benton’s excavation grid. 12 Benton 1934–35, 51. 13 Benton 1934–35, 53–4. 14 BSA Archive: Ithaca IV, Polis; Sylvia Benton Papers 1/1-1/2. 15 Benton 1934–35, 48–51. 16 Benton 1934–35, fig. 3. 17 Benton 1934–35, figs. 3 and 4. These figures lack clear topographic detail and do not differentiate between the vertical Pantokratora limestone cliff and far less
Caves and consumption 89 steeply sloping talus at the base of the Tertiary flysch cliff. The site is less enclosed in reality (Figure 4.2 Below) than the 1930s figures appear to indicate. Full analysis of these matters will appear in the final publication. 18 Thus Wagman 2016, 54 notes with respect to the Cave of the Nymphs at Pharsalos, “the pace of rural religion, with its emphasis on frequent, spontaneous offerings as opposed to more widely spaced, organized ones, did not support elaborate dedications”; the site excavators’ reports of a wide range of pottery (now lost) are noted, but not factored into discussion. Sporn 2013, 202, 209 observes that none of the known caves held feasts, which were integrated in this (or any other way) into the formal ritual life of the polis. Contra Morgan et al., forthcoming. 19 Morgan, forthcoming. 20 Late Bronze Age-Transitional pottery from Stavros and the Cave of the Cyclops is under study by Morgan. 21 Morgan, forthcoming. Isthmia: Morgan 1999, chapters II.3, II.4; Amyklae: Vlachou 2011–12; Mount Lykaion: Romano and Voyatzis, forthcoming; Olympia: Eder 2001; Trapeza hill: Borgna and Vordos 2019, 18–20. 22 Morgan 2011, 113–14; Morgan, forthcoming. 23 Morgan, forthcoming. 24 Morgan 2011, 115–17. 25 Unpublished seventh-century site (termed the Geometric site by Benton), plus sixth- century miscellaneous finds probably from graves: BSA Archive: Sylvia Benton Papers BEN 1/1 and 1/2; Tris Langadhes and Stavros Graves 1935, 1936. Reports of a few Protogeometric sherds (not now traceable) in fill between Classical graves may indicate earlier activity on a scale as yet unknown: Waterhouse 1952, 240. 26 Morgan 2011. 27 Livitsanis 2014, 128–30, 124–7. 28 Benton 1938–39, 46–7. Benton here reports that the “cave” was discovered accidentally when Loizos was excavating for a lime kiln (although she mistakes the year). Schliemann visited the excavation in July 1868: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Archive: Schliemann Papers: Series A: Diary 1868, 107 (Loizos, who is not named by Schliemann, claimed to have discovered a grave and to be excavating in search of more). 29 Benton 1934–35, 49–51. 30 Livitsanis 2014. 31 Morgan, forthcoming. 32 Benton 1938–39, 47–8; BSA Archive, Sylvia Benton Papers: BEN 1/1, 1/2, unpublished lecture, St Andrews. 33 Benton 1934–35, 48–9, 54, fig. 4. Rubble would certainly have been available on the beach, having been eroded from the limestone cliff and flysch. 34 Benton 1934–35, 51; contrary to her claim, the latter is not necessarily characteristic of cave floor deposits. 35 Benton 1934–35, 49–50, 53. 36 Kolonas 2018. 37 Benton 1934– 35, 56– 73. Dodona: Piccinini 2017, 42– 4, 63– 5, 88– 90 for bibliography. 38 Moritz Kiderlen, personal communication. 39 Morgan 2008 (the date is based on style and technique); Mylonopoulos 2016, 243– 4 suggests, on stylistic grounds alone, that the piece may be a Cretan import, but the fabric is incompatible with a Cretan origin and consistent with a local product.
90 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward The coil technique is well established in the islands for the production of large vessels. 40 While it has been claimed that the inscription is not unequivocally associated with the “cave,” both fragments can be traced to Loizos’ excavations via the accounts of Schliemann (n. 28 above) and William Stillman (Morgan 2018, 243 n.135), and we further maintain that artefacts deposited in the “cave” cannot be understood in isolation from the likely ritual environment in the bay area. 41 Morgan, forthcoming; Livitsanis 2014, 138, 176. 42 Benton 1938–39, 22–31, noting that a number of the “Attic” vessels are local/ regional. On the popularity of Laconian and Laconianising vessels at Drakaina, see Karadima, this volume. 43 E.g. Drakaina Cave: Karadima, this volume. 44 The Polis finds are largely unpublished, although the presence of such artefacts is noted by Benton 1934–35, 68, 73. West Greek production and circulation: Rolley 1982, 91–100. 45 Livitsanis 2014, 50–5, 60–1. 46 Benton 1938–39, 38–45; the full range of material was documented by Morgan in the context of the BSA study programme. 47 Mylonopoulos 2016 focuses on style and does not mention fabric. 48 Waterhouse 1952; Archaic- Hellenistic pottery from settlement- related fills excavated by the BSA in the centre of modern Stavros has been studied by Morgan. 49 Livitsanis 2014, e.g. 152–3. 50 Morgan et al., forthcoming. 51 Livitsanis 2014, 112–13. 52 The BSA excavations at Agios Athanasios remain unpublished: Late Classical- Roman pottery has been studied by Morgan. 53 Petrographic analysis: Pentedeka 2014. 54 Antonaccio 1995, 152–5; Morgan 2018, 237–44. 55 Mylonopoulos 2016, 247–9. 56 Benton 1934–35, 51; Antonaccio 1995, 153; contra Livitsanis 2014, 137. 57 Benton 1938–39, 38, fig. 19.
Bibliography Antonaccio, C. 1995. An Archaeology of Ancestors. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Benton, S. 1934–35. Excavations in Ithaca, III. The cave at Polis, I. BSA 35, 45–73. Benton, S. 1938–39. Excavations in Ithaca, III. The cave at Polis, II. BSA 39, 1–51. Borgna, E. and Vordos, A. 2019. Mycenaeans and Achaeans. Preliminary notes on the occupation of the Trapeza at Aigion during the Late Bronze Age and early historical times. In Gli Achei in Grecia e in Magna Grecia: Nuove Scoperte e Nuove Prospettive, eds. E. Greco and A. Rizakis, 13–32. Athens: Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene. Deoudi, M. 2008. ΙΘΑΚΗ. Die Polishöhle, Odysseus und die Nymphen. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press. Eder, B. 2001. Continuity of Bronze Age cult at Olympia? The evidence of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age pottery. In Potnia. Deities and Religion in the Aegean Bronze Age, Acts of the 8th International Aegean Conference at Göteborg
Caves and consumption 91 University, 12–15 April 2000, eds. R. Hägg and R. Laffineur, 201–9. Aegaeum 22. Liège: Université de Liège. Gell, W. 1807. The Geography and Antiquities of Ithaca. London. Karadima, A. 2020. Coastal Cult. The Case of Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia. PhD thesis, Birkbeck College, University of London. Katsarou, S. and Darlas, A. 2016–17. Cave heritage in Greece: Aetoloakarnania. Archaeological Reports 63, 89–105. Kolonas, L. 2018. Χάλκινοι ταφικοί λέβητες από τη θέση ‘Σταθμός – Κεφαλόβρυσο’ του Πρωτογεωμετρικού νεκροταφείου της Σταμνάς Αιτωλοακαρνανίας. In Το Αρχαιολογικό Έργο στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τη Λευκάδα. Πρακτικά 2ου Διεθνούς Αρχαιολογικού και Ιστορικού Συνεδρίου, Ι.Π. Μεσολογγίου, 6–8 Δεκεμβρίου 2013, eds. O. Vikatou, V. Staikou and F. Saranti, 71–97. Messolonghi: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas. Livitsanis, G. 2014. Ithacans Bearing Pots. Pottery and Social Dynamics in Late Archaic and Classical Polis Valley, Ithaca Island. MA thesis, Leiden University. Malkin, I. 1998. The Returns of Odysseus: Colonization and Ethnicity. Berkeley: University of California Press. Morgan, C. 1999. Isthmia VIII. The Late Bronze Age Settlement and Early Iron Age Sanctuary. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Morgan, C. 2008. An early Archaic sphinx from the Polis Cave, Ithaka (Stavros 59). In Essays in Classical Archaeology for Eleni Hatzivassiliou (1977–2007), ed. D. C. Kurtz, 35–40. Oxford: Archaeopress. Morgan, C. 2011. The elite of Aetos: religion and power in Early Iron Age Ithaca. In The Dark Age Revisited, ed. A. Mazarakis-Ainian, 113–25. Volos: University of Thessaly. Morgan, C. 2018. Nostoi and material culture in the area of the Classical-Hellenistic Ionian and Adriatic seas. In The Returning Hero. Nostoi and Traditions of Mediterranean Settlement, eds. S. Hornblower and G. Biffis, 213–44. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Morgan. C. Forthcoming. Considering consumption: Ceramic assemblages and the organization of Early Iron Age ritual gatherings. In Neue Forschungen zu frühen Griechischen Heiligtümern (12.- 5. Jh. v. Chr.), eds. A. Moustaka and W.- D. Neimeier. Athenaia Series. Athens: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. Morgan, C., Karadima, A. and Katsarou, S. Forthcoming. Fête champêtre? Feasting in the central Ionian countryside. In Feasting with the Greeks. Towards a Social Archaeology of Ritual Consumption in the Greek World, eds. X. Charalambidou, J. P. Crielaard and C. Morgan. Mylonopoulos, I. 2016. Terracotta figurines from Ithaca. Local production and imported ware. In Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine 1: Production, diffusion, étude, eds. A. Muller, E. Laflı and S. Huysecom-Haxhi, 239–51. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplement 54. Paris/Athens: École française d’Athènes. Pentedeka, A. 2013. Potting Traditions and Island Connections in Western Greece: Kephallonia and Ithaca from Prehistory to Late Antiquity. Final Report of Petrographic Analysis. British School at Athens. Fitch Laboratory Internal Report. Piccinini, J. 2017. The Shrine of Dodona in the Archaic and Classical Ages. A History. Macerata: Eum. Rolley, C. 1982. Les vases de l’Archaïsme recent en Grand-Grèce. Naples: Centre Jean Bérard.
92 Catherine Morgan and Chris Hayward Romano, D. G. and Voyatzis, M. Forthcoming. Sanctuaries of Zeus: Mt. Lykaion and Olympia in the Early Iron Age. Hesperia. Sporn, K. 2013. Mapping Greek sacred caves: Sources, features, cults. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. T. Jensen, 202–16. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Ustinova, Y. 2009. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind. Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Vlachou, V. 2011–12. The Spartan Amyklaion: The Early Iron Age pottery from the sanctuary. Mouseio Benaki 11–12, 113–24. Wagman, R. 2016. The Cave of the Nymphs at Pharsalos. Studies on a Thessalian Country Shrine. Leiden: Brill. Waterhouse, H. 1952. Excavations at Stavros, Ithaca, in 1937. BSA 47, 227–42.
5 Communities, consumption, and a cave The profile of cult at Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia Agathi Karadima
Introduction This contribution provides a preliminary reading and discussion of material assemblages excavated at Drakaina Cave on the island of Kephallonia in the Ionian Sea. The geographical positioning of the cave on a gorge overseeing traffic on and to the sea facilitated communication between communities from the ancient inland city of Pronnoi and those at the port of Poros. The port of Poros must have functioned as a terminal for sea travel through the Corinthian Gulf to the west. Archaeological fieldwork in the cave was conducted between 1992 and 2002. The excavations revealed large assemblages of fine and coarse ware pottery as well as figurative terracottas. Several votive offerings from the cave are related to sea travel. A closer study of the materials and a reading of the profile of the cult allow us to characterize a number of features of the vernacular type of culture. This essay will highlight how material remains from the Drakaina Cave give testimony to domestic and personal concerns associated to the well-being of the family and aspects such as marriage, pregnancy and childbirth, the upbringing of children, aspects of the coming of age, and health in the region. In this contribution, the votive offerings will be arranged thematically to recognise the gender of the dedicants when it is possible. Instead of discussing the dedications by type, I distinguish themes that reflect an aspect of the cult’s life, and I group the votives accordingly. Consequently, I will offer an interpretation of the votive materials based on comparative materials excavated at other sanctuaries, known literary sources, and iconography. Kephallonia, the largest of the Ionian islands, is situated at the western edge of the Corinthian Gulf, between the island of Zakynthos to the south, and the islands of Ithaca and Leukas to the north. Four ancient poleis- states have been identified on Kephallonia: Pale, Krane, Same, and Pronnoi (Figure 5.1).1 The first three were situated close to the sea, while Pronnoi was built high on the mountains at the southeast part of the island. The Drakaina Cave is located some 300 m west of the modern town of Poros at an altitude of 70 m on the south side of a gorge (Figure 5.2). In the past Poros was the port of Pronnoi and the only exit to the sea from the inland fertile Tzanata
94 Agathi Karadima
Figure 5.1 The four ancient poleis of Kephallonia. Map: T. Anker. Based on Randsborg 2002, Vol. Ι, 16, fig. I.1.
valley. The natural setting of the Drakaina Cave was of great interest to the communities of the polis of Pronnoi for defensive and probably also for economic reasons related to the trading benefits of the port. Today, the cave has turned into the form of a rock shelter, extending over an area of 200 sq. m of which 100 sq. m are protected by a roof. This roofed section was the part of the cave that was excavated by Miranda Hatziotis from the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology, on numerous occasions between 1992 and 2002 (Figure 5.3).2
Communities, consumption, and a cave 95
Figure 5.2 Above: The geographical setting of the Drakaina Cave near Poros. Below: View to the gorge and the sea from the cave. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
The material assemblage excavated under the roofed section indicates that sacrifice and communal dining played an integral role in ritual practices. A large rock with a flattened surface in the centre may have been used as an altar and the sacrifice of animals. A number of natural cavities and artificial pits on the floor were filled with offerings or by-products of ritual activities.
96 Agathi Karadima
Figure 5.3 Drakaina Cave, with excavated areas highlighted. Plan: Th. Chatzitheod orou. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
These include broken coarse and fine ware, bones and other organic materials, and ashes, which were deposited here during various cleansings of the site. A preliminary study of the osteological analysis reveals that goat and sheep were the preferred animals consumed during ceremonies once held.3 Of special interest was a large semi-circular bothros that occupied nearly 4 sq. m. This bothros was excavated 1.6 m into the prehistoric deposits.4 The fact that no stratification was detected allows us to assume that the bothros contained materials from large-scale cleaning. The most significant material group found in the fill was terracottas (only few were excavated outside the fill). Finally, at the rear of the chamber, in square Γ6 was revealed the foundation of a modest 1-m-long stone wall. Following the excavations, 472 fine vases were mended and partially restored, 211 of which are miniatures. Many more fragments attest to a much larger corpus of pottery. Most of the fine ware excavated belongs to groups of drinking cups: kantharoi, skyphoi, kotyles, and kylikes. The 250 figurative terracottas include representations of dancing groups, protomai, relief plaques, and single figurines. In what follows,
Communities, consumption, and a cave 97 I describe characteristic features of the material assemblage and aspects related to the religious system and community involvement in place. I will also discuss aspects of gender and age discernible in the archaeological record.
Feasting at the Drakaina Cave The origins of the pottery excavated in the cave allow us to consider ways to reconstruct the composition of cult participants. We can detect an overseas interest by the inhabitants of ancient Pronnoi, if we accept, in the absence of a written record, that some sort of control was exercised over the cave sanctuary. In Figure 5.4, I present a selection of fine and miniature drinking cups. While there are many locally made cups, their shape was influenced by imported cups. Materials from the northwest Peloponnese, mainly Elis, Laconia, Aetolia, and Akarnania, had the strongest influence on local pottery production. Furthermore, there is imported Corinthian, Attic, Elean, and Laconian pottery. A separate category forms what can be identified as West Greek pottery with possible local or Ithacan origin. This type of pottery has also been excavated at sites in Aitoloakarnania, the northwestern part of the Peloponnese and in south Italy.
Figure 5.4 Drakaina Cave: Drinking cups (upper two rows) and miniature pottery (lower two rows). Photographs: Author.
98 Agathi Karadima First, I would like to focus on drinking as an activity associated with men.5 Assuming that the imported cups could be dedicated by men after dining and drinking ceremonies in the cave, we may speculate that drinking parties were also an important element in the social organization of communities. Drinking sets may have been dedicated for two reasons. First, young men may have been introduced to drinking by their elderly peers. At a second level of interpretation, the material included offerings of cups by sailors, traders, workers, local or foreign, from the nearby settlement of Poros. We can assume that these men shared a common interest in activities related to the sea and the port. Subsequently, the votives were offered to ensure a profitable trade or safety at sea. The maritime aspect is further supported by the representation of sea themes on a few painted vases. For this group of visitors, the imported drinking cups were easily available offerings, most likely as part of the cargo of their ships. Certainly, many maritime destinations on sea routes in the Ionian Sea would have functioned as major meeting points. Here, communities would have shared practices and myths. These meeting points also served as nodes on maritime networks that offered information on navigation and opportunities for trade.6 The site of the Drakaina Cave was probably part of such a dual maritime as well as religious network. It had both a local and regional radius and was able to facilitate both short-and medium-distance travel. But it was also part of a long-distance trade network and included smaller networks that merged storytelling, myths, and rituals, and shared goods and ideas. A myth recorded by the third century C E author Antoninus Liberalis (40) with a rare reference to Kephallonia includes indications to a network of local stories central to maritime commercial and religious mobility.7 Members of this network acquired importance due to their position within the community. When worship in caves was directly linked with long-distance trade networks, as was probably the case for the Drakaina Cave, the visitors would have had access to diverse sets of circulating good myths and ritual practices. Religion constituted the common ground that institutionalized the interaction between individuals who were otherwise strangers. The role of local communities was crucial in such networks. As Barbara Kowalzig argued, participating communities supported maritime networks by offering navigation knowledge and a trust network for the travelling ships.8 The local community at the settlement of Poros and the port authorities must have played a similar role in organizing the port and offering services to travelling ships, which would have reflected on the diversity of drinking vessels employed for worship at the Drakaina Cave.
Honouring Dionysos? As I have argued elsewhere, the first group of figurative terracottas examined here is related to the cult of Dionysos.9 An impressive protome is of late Archaic date (Figure 5.5a). Two square reliefs depict a bearded male (Figure 5.5b). Wavy hair frames the face. It is terminating in an ivy-leaf wreath on the top of
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Figure 5.5 Drakaina Cave: Protome (a) and relief plaque (b) representing Dionysos; (c) Pan figurine. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
the head. Below the right ear hang fruits, most likely grapes. The open mouth, framed by an unkempt beard, indicates that the reliefs are presentations of masks. As all these features suggest we are dealing with a representation of Dionysos, as the mask is the god’s most specific representation. A figurine of a Pan playing the syrinx (Figure 5.5c) and a plate with a fragmentary inscription that reads ΔΙ… offer further testimony for the veneration of Dionysos. Moreover, the vast number of kantharoi was recovered from the cave point to Dionysos. The same applies to three vases of the Haimon and Lancut groups. The scene on the first cup is usually interpreted as Dionysos ascending the chariot, accompanied by his comrades. Eleni Manakidou considers the theme of departure on a chariot as a reference to the presence of a god.10 Thomas Carpenter argues that such scenes refer to Dionysos’ trip to and recovery of Semele from the Underworld.11 The other two Haimonian cups depict two seated figures, one on each side, and have been interpreted by various scholars as Apollo and Dionysos.12 The large late Archaic Dionysiac protome (Figure 5.5a) was found on a surface layer in front of the small wall that was built on square Γ6. The early date of the protome attests to cleaning of the site. Its high quality may have been a reason why it was not discarded. Additionally, its rather ambiguous gender presentation made it suitable as a representation of several deities, including Dionysos. In Attica, the Archaic iconography of Dionysos features him bearded and respectful, as a family man, an inspiring and familiar figure for the rural communities engaged in honouring him.13 The god was shown as an impassive figure and always sober, even if his thiasos, Satyrs and Maenads,
100 Agathi Karadima were depicted in revelry around him.14 As Carpenter argues, this conservative image of Dionysos is related to the bearded mask fixed on a pole, a common cultic apparatus of worship during this time.15 Only in the last quarter of the fifth century B C E a new iconography of the god was introduced; he was now shown beardless, often with long flowing hair, nude or semi-nude, youthful, and in a pose described by modern scholarship as effeminate.16 Alan Shapiro disputes this view claiming that in these early representations Dionysos crossed the boundary between appropriate male and female appearances and manner in a positive sense, as a way to redefine masculinity. The visual traits of his youthfulness emphasize his sexuality, which, in turn, connected him to Ariadne in a nuptial relationship.17 According to Robert Parker, this new beardless god and his spouse formed a quintessential role model for married couples. Shapiro suggests that the union of Dionysos with the wife of an Athenian archon was celebrated during the Anthesteria. One aspect of the ritual was to emphasize the importance of marriage between two Athenian citizens.18 Similarly, Parker concluded that the Dionysos of the late fifth to the middle of the fourth century BCE embodied marital happiness and stability in an idealized manner. Among the worshippers in the Drakaina Cave and its cult, Dionysos could have functioned as a patron god of married couples and included women. This aspect of the cult is rare but not unique, as a similar function has been attributed to Dionysos cults at Brauron and Halai, as well as in Aetolian Kalydon.19 In discussing the function of Dionysos as the recipient deity, Pierre Brulé argued that Dionysiac and Bacchic celebrations that accompanied the cult offered some sort of compensation to women for the repressed lives they experienced at home.20 This periodic escape, with male permission to act inappropriately, was an outlet for their confinement and suppressed desires.21 The exaggerated expressions of ritual Maenadism, which at least orally described the acts of Maenads as violent, wild, ecstatic, sexualized and coarse, were behaviours that were not allowed to women. It is only through cults like those of Dionysos or Demeter that mature women could play an important role in communal events.22
Miniaturization of vases and figurative terracottas The miniature vases excavated from Drakaina (Figure 5.4) were nearly equal in number with regular-sized vases (211 vs. 272). These quantities interestingly reflect the composition of miniaturized and regular- sized votive terracottas as well (210 out of 250). In order to understand why miniatures ended in the votive assemblage of the cave in these large numbers it is essential to answer the following two questions: what is the symbolic meaning of the miniature vessel? How can we contextualize these miniatures with the rest of the dedications as well as their role in cult?
Communities, consumption, and a cave 101 Starting from the quantity, their popularity, if anything else, suggests that they were indeed important. Recent research concentrates on their find and use contexts rather than their value as wares or commodities. Gunnel Eckroth points towards the desirability of the small size as suitable for creating a personal bond with the receiver. The dedicant could carry them in her/his hand from wherever she/he was coming while the small size facilitated a one-to-one close inspection. Yet, Eckroth believes that miniatures were unsuitable for making an impression or that they could have been used in elite competition.23 This approach includes the central idea in the use of miniatures, which is what is described as defunctionalisation, a process of investing a recognizable object with a new meaning by changing the familiar scale (reducing or increasing it) and by rendering it no longer utilitarian.24 Turning a cup into a votive that is no longer in use as a drinking cup but stands static for display or is used only once or occasionally is an example of defunctionalisation. The choice to use a specific iconography and a specific type of vase was never arbitrary. Oliver Pilz argues that miniature objects communicate shared conceptions and beliefs that have been agreed among a specific group of people through a signification system.25 Symbols that constitute the system create meaning within the specific group. It is likely though that, as symbols change, the miniatures signal different codes through time, especially in long- lived cults when they would be affected by a range of changes in terms of the individuals of the communities, their priorities, and the wider cultural environment. Miniaturized drinking vessels and protomai, which comprise the majority of the miniatures at the Drakaina Cave, along with the few small-sized vases of other type, had a very specific function in the cult. First, they are evidence for drinking customs. However, pattern-decorated kotylai did not have a regular-sized counterpart. By contrast, they had a history and life of their own only as votives. They followed a very generic shape of Archaic kotylai but were not small- scale replicas of them. Therefore, interpreting them as drinking cups might be unfounded − even though their original use as containers might not be excluded − as they were used for votive purposes. Signe Barfoed suggested that miniature pottery was generally used in commemoration rituals.26 To us, commemoration is familiar in relation to the funerary realm where monuments are set up to maintain the memory of the dead. Miniatures might stand as another type of “monument,” a surviving memorial of a past event. The initial visit to the cave might have involved hunting, sacrifice, feasting, dancing, the dedication of another vase that might have been used in the dining event. All are gone and leave nearly no meaningful trace in the landscape; they were remembered by the participants but nearly nothing in the deposit speaks for the experience. It is possible then that the initial cause of the gathering was maintained and enhanced by embedding
102 Agathi Karadima
Figure 5.6 Drakaina Cave: Dancing groups of various types. Photographs: Author.
a connotative meaning to the object. Leaving a small vase after the end of the occasion might have been for the visitor a means to perpetuate the experience in her/his memory and a constant reminder to the gods that they had to fulfil their part of the reciprocal relationship. A production detail of the dancing groups among the terracotta figurines documented in the Drakaina Cave makes sense if we see it through this light. There are fifteen different types of dancing groups while the dancing figurines are approximately 100 (Figures 5.6 and 5.7). They seem to be material metaphors of an actual event; women dancing in a circle. Dancers may be depicted as separate figures as well (Figure 5.7b). Although the coroplast took great care to attribute details like bending knees and garments and hair, the details are limited to the front view. The backside is always crude, a convex surface with visible fingerprints as the potter pushes the clay on the mould. Considering that the back side of the dancers is more or equally visible as would have been the front, we would expect to see some details given that this is the easier part with less features. As this is an attribute that repeats in all the groups, it cannot have been a random feature. It may reveal that the idea was to focus on the interior of the circle as to frieze the moment and perpetuate it ensuring divine protection.
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Figure 5.7 Drakaina Cave: Dancing group (a) and dancing figure (b). Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
Susan Cole associates small-sized offerings with women. According to Cole, the absence of miniatures from Panhellenic sites might be the outcome of women’s exclusion from “the contexts of politics, war and athletics.”27 Nevertheless, this exclusion is limited to the physical presence of women in places where male prestige and authority were at stake. In fact, women dedicated for their male family members corresponding artefacts like shields, while female deities like Hera had a function as protectress of warriors and the military.28 Gender relationships in the archaeological record are therefore not easy to identify. Another group of votives offered at Drakaina may have served a similar commemorative function: small female protomai in a wide typological variation (Figure 5.8) dating mainly to the fifth and fourth century B C E were possibly dedicated by women before and after major rites of passage. I have subdivided these offerings according to age groups. The first group shows females with their hair worn up (Figure 5.8a), framing the face in austere style. The second group includes protomai representing women
104 Agathi Karadima
Figure 5.8 Drakaina Cave: Female protomai depicting women of different age and status. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
wearing their hair high, wrapped on a knot over the forehead (Figure 5.8c). The next group of protomai wear a polos (Figure 5.8b). Erika Simon suggested that poloi in religious celebrations might have functioned as bridal crowns.29 The material from the Drakaina Cave supports the argument that protomai were dedicated by women before and after their wedding. Another group includes rather mature women wearing a headgear and a veil (Figure 5.8d). We can associate these specific pieces with representations of married women. I mentioned above that the nature of religious concerns related to miniatures is personal. Women’s involvement with religion was always directed towards the well-being of the family.30 When women performed rituals, when they participated in feasts or dedicated offerings, it was for the sake of the family. The quantity of miniatures then might mirror the presence of women in the cult. It certainly does not mean that men were not included or that male concerns like war or the outcome of a trip were not subject of female anxiety and distress. In my view, the Drakaina Cave protomai were dedicated after the completion of an initiation or a maturation rite and were offerings that reinforced the integration of the young woman into a new class: she was now of marriageable age, having left childhood, or was newly married. The protomai, presenting mature women, were given as tokens to the deity who oversaw the transition or socialization process, to ensure the successful completion of the milestone and as a proof that the participants attended all the appropriate rites. As Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood argues, for women, marriage seems to have marked the achievement of full maturity, while success in marriage and the production of legitimate citizen offspring defined female value.31 Within this framework, the cult of Dionysos offered to women who were outside the group that held male
Communities, consumption, and a cave 105 attention an appropriate outlet for the expression of otherwise inappropriate concerns. It is plausible that the cult life of mature women was equally rich to that of men, but a whole range of rituals and the symbolism of the dedicated objects eludes our understanding.
Artemis at Drakaina and Kephallonia A group of small protomai seem to represent women wearing animal masks (Figure 5.9a–d). They all have signs of manual reworking as well as signs of red paint on the surface. The facial features are unrealistic, and it is challenging to identify what is represented; the chin is round and shallow; the nose is prominent; the shape of the face is triangular; and the temples of the forehead are particularly prominent. Two of the protomai (not shown here) are similar in size and style to the groups introduced above. However, while they represent the face of a woman, they were not reworked. I argue that the shape of the face is intentionally zoomorphic and that the coroplast wished to represent females wearing animal masks. The mask represented either a fox or a weasel. On the other hand, the shape may have been left intentionally ambiguous so that it could be easily perceived as either. Similar protomai were found in Kalydon and Ithaca, both places with a prominent cult of Artemis. I assume that there was a myth of transformation, which was part of the local narrative related with the rituals in the Drakaina Cave.
Figure 5.9 Drakaina Cave: Masked protomai (a–d) and protomai depicting Artemis (e–f). Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
106 Agathi Karadima From the Artemis Orthia sanctuary we learn about a Spartan ritual connected with a local hero named Alopekos (“fox”), which signified the beginning of the Orthia cult known as phouaxir; this “playing the fox” or “fox-time” referred to a period of separation from society.32 Nanno Marinatos argued that the fox served as a codename for an age group within the Spartan educational system, in the same way in which young girls in the service of Artemis were called bears.33 In the Artemis cult of Brauron, girls played the bear.34 A few representations on dedicated krateriskoi related to the cult of Artemis in Brauron depict girls being chased by a bear or an individual masked as a bear, if what is shown, is a scene of the actual ritual.35 The small protomai from the Drakaina Cave resembling foxes also possibly represent figures wearing masks, rather than the actual animals, and it is plausible to imagine a similar function. Thus, they either show masked individuals who chased the initiates or the initiates themselves, in a symbolic way, assuming an animal form before becoming human again.36 They could be offerings made after individuals had passed the stage of learning to hunt. Based on the known parallels, images of foxes reference male initiation, while bears reference female.37 The only other fox in a popular local myth included the Teumessian fox killed by Kephalos.38 These animal forms symbolize a state in young lives before adulthood, when, by repeating the initial event, the aition of the myth, they offered themselves to Artemis as a gift to appease her hostility. Subsequently, they were introduced into adult life under the patronage of Artemis.39 A group of female protomai are depicted wearing an animal skin cap (Figure 5.9e–f). The ears are covered by round projections; in all probability the front paws. The forehead also projects an animal jaw or nostrils.40 A long-curled lock or braid, visible only on the left side of the head, might be the representation of the tail of the animal. This detail makes the identification of the animal with a fox likely. Furthermore, below the tail another detail represents an animal skin worn as a garment otherwise known as nebris. Parallels for those attributes come from the iconography of a skyphos attributed to Phiale Painter, labelling the figures as Bendis and Themis.41 Bendis wears all of typical Bendis attributes, including a short chiton, an animal skin (nebris), high boots (embades), and a fox skin cap (alopekis). On the other side, labelled again, we find Kephalos sitting on a rock offering an oinochoe to Artemis. The scene with Artemis and Kephalos though may imply an unknown mythological episode associating the two goddesses with Kephalos, a hero that is often used for the construction of genealogies. We know that Kephalos was an important heroic figure on Kephallonia, since all four poleis minted coins with his portrait.42 Fragments of a group of protomai depict the figure wearing a quiver strap or a cross band. The Drakaina Cave miniature protomai depict Artemis as a hunter in the guise of Bendis and as Potnia Theron. This representation is in accord with archaeological and philological sources for the cults of Artemis in
Communities, consumption, and a cave 107 Patrai, Kalydon, Sparta, Naupactus, as well as sites in Italy, and elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. Specifically, in western Greece, according to Pausanias the veneration of Artemis was fulfilled with chthonian sacrifices and the burning of alive animals.43 Nevertheless, images of hunting, and specifically representations of Artemis as huntress, point to the margins and notions of wilderness and domestication.44 A singular standing figurine, which is a type very popular all over the Mediterranean, depicts a deity holding a fawn or birds, a form often identified with Artemis.45 The depiction of a new- born animal is connected with the nurturing and protective side of the deity as patroness of new-borns and young children; she was a kourotrophos who oversaw their upbringing. As a dedication, it is connected to the initiation of young girls.46
Nymphs Among the more important finds from the cave is a Hellenistic krater with the inscription NYNΦΑΙΣ. The most common interpretation of the dancing groups is as a representation of the Nymphs (Figures 5.6 and 5.7). Rituals connected to the celebration of Nymphs are covering every phase in the female life cycle: during pregnancy, childbirth, and as kourotrophoi during the upbringing of children.47 Nymphs are referred to mostly in plural, impersonally, recognized as divinities that act as a group being the divine personification of a young woman. The very high mortality during pregnancy and childbirth and during childhood contributed to the formation and spread of the belief that responsible for these misfortunes were divinities wild and difficult to propitiate.48 A few figurines of children in the corpus point to the concern for their upbringing.
Discussion The recipient deities of the cult at Drakaina Cave were Artemis, Dionysos, and the Nymphs. All three deities functioned as patrons of the family and the household. These deities helped young men and women in their transition at important stages in their lives. Figurines of children reflect Artemis’ concern with infants and their upbringing. A central feature of the cult at the cave seems to have been overseeing the passage of young men from childhood to adulthood. It is possible that there was a connection with the local hero Kephalos: elements of his myth appear in the iconography of the cult in the cave. Dedications to the Nymphs can be associated with the Artemis cult, and, as such, they should not be understood as visiting or secondary deities. The dedication of a Pan figurine, at least one example of which has been found in almost every cave on the Ionian islands, may have been related with hunting at the borders of the polis. In this case, the dedicant may have been a hunter. Dionysos, on the other hand, was a patron of marriage and married women.
108 Agathi Karadima A common theme evident in the worship of both Artemis and Dionysos was illustrating aspects of crisis in the life of the worshippers and them overcoming this stage through rituals. A further function of the cult at Drakaina would have concerned protection during sea travels, profitable trade, and was connected with the nearby port of Poros.49 Miniaturization played a ritual function by commemorating the occasion of the gathering and at the same time indicated female preference for small size. During the research it became evident that affinities included cults and production centres of votives in the Peloponnese, especially the northwestern part of the region, also the western Greek mainland, the Ionian islands, and the southeastern districts of the Italian peninsula. With regard to the gender of the worshippers of the Drakaina Cave, the space was used by men and women. On certain occasions the space might have been used by women for female celebrations. At other times it is possible that men occupied the space for religious purposes, economic activities, or feasting. Since the cave is small, it was an ideal space for families, nuclear or extended, and small groups that shared kinship through blood, gender, or status to gather and celebrate. These would have been occasions for men and women to coexist in the cave. We know that women were allowed to feast and celebrate with a close circle of family and peers and at women-only parties.50 Furthermore, the offerings of masked protomai that were likely related with young men and hunting were possibly offered by men engaged in initiatory rituals. At Athens, we know that young girls went through a period of seclusion, which Parker argues can be seen as a type of initiation.51 The Drakaina Cave is not spacious enough to suggest a similar function, but another building in the close vicinity of the cave, such as the settlement on the acropolis, may have housed such an activity. Given these points, two conclusions can be reached. First, many of the dedications at Drakaina Cave, and especially the figurative terracottas, point to women as dedicants. Another group of materials, which included regular- sized drinking cups and especially the kantharoi, points to drinking activities and, consequently, the involvement of men. This corpus of materials indicates that men and women could participate in the cult at the cave and celebrate altogether. As noted above, women could feast alongside men on some occasions and alone on others. A key point to consider in our modern understanding of the cult at Drakaina is how the mechanism of gender construction served the needs of the polis. In her study of the Ortheia cult, Synnøve Des Bouvrie points out that cults that involved initiation rites were concerned with the organization of a power hierarchy within society.52 This clearly excluded from power those who were not allowed to participate while simultaneously arranging succession of power. This is the essential reason for the existence for initiation cults in the context of the polis: to strengthen the ties of the community by the exclusion of groups that will never be admitted to the polis ranks. The
Communities, consumption, and a cave 109 employment of imagery and symbolism may allow associations with nature, myths, and religious activities, but the intention of the polis was to maintain the existing state of affairs. For Kephallonia, we lack direct reference to the local social circumstances, but we can see the necessity of the community to assign specific roles to men and women. The festivals and gatherings in the Drakaina Cave can be linked to the strategic port in the border territory with the city of Pronnoi which was located further away. The veneration of deities which would be able to ensure a connection with foreigners and travellers would have appealed to the political strategy of Pronnoi about setting the polis under divine protection and was of primary concern for the communities and the polis. At the same time, the interregional network of sanctuaries and poleis on the island shared ritual practices and economic benefits deriving from trade. Ultimately, the cults at the borders of town communities demonstrated the ability of the polis to protect its citizens.53
Acknowledgement I would like to thank Drs. Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel for their kind invitation to participate at the conference in Boston in 2018 and in this volume.
Notes 1 Randsborg 2002, Vol. I, 16. For recent archaeological fieldwork on Kephallonia’s communities in the Classical and Hellenistic period: Sotiriou 2010, 2013, 2018. 2 The field project was then conducted by Miranda Hatziotis of the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology. I would like to thank Miranda Hatziotis for kindly granting me permission to work with the material from her excavation and for providing photographs and drawings. 3 Hatziotis et al. 1989, 45. The material presented here is also discussed in the author’s unpublished PhD thesis: Karadima 2020. 4 The cave hosted extensive human occupation in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, see Stratouli and Melfos 2008; Stratouli and Metaxas 2017; Metaxas et al. 2018. Information is also available on a website dedicated to the excavation: www. drakainacave.gr. 5 On communal drinking in ancient Greece, see Osborne 2014, with bibliography. Also Gilchrist 1999, Foxhall 2013, Rautman 2000, Nelson 2006. 6 Kowalzig 2018, 102–3 (examples of Artemis cults in the vicinity of the Euboean Gulf). 7 Kowalzig 2018, 93–4. 8 Kowalzig 2018, 108. 9 Karadima 2020, 269–74. 10 Manakidou 1994, 128–9. 11 Carpenter 1997, 64, pl. 18b. 12 Moore et al. 1986, 60–1, 288, no. 1564, pl. 104.
110 Agathi Karadima 13 Shapiro 1989, 92–5; on early cults of Dionysos in Attica, see Shapiro 1989, 84–8. 14 Shapiro 2015, 295–6. 15 Carpenter 1997, 92–4. 16 Jameson 1993; Carpenter 1997, 85–103. 17 Shapiro 2015. 18 Shapiro 2015, 305–6. 19 Brulé 1987, 310– 4 (Brauron and Halai). Dyggve and Poulsen 1948, 344– 5 (Kalydon). 20 Brulé 2003, 29–31. 21 On women and the cult of Dionysos, see Kraemer 1979. 22 Brulé 2003, 29; Stehle 2012, 194–6. 23 Eckroth 2003, 36. 24 Luce 2011; Smith and Bergeron 2011 address miniatures and their significance. 25 Pilz 2011, 18–9. 26 Barfoed 2016, 57–9. 27 Cole 2004, 100–4. In Olympia married women were only excluded from the athletic events but not from the sanctuary. According to Pausanias, maidens were allowed to watch the games along with priestesses (Paus. 5.6.7 and 6.20.8). 28 For a discussion of material assemblages in sanctuaries of Hera in Greece, see Baumbach 2004. 29 Simon 1972, 205–20. 30 Cole 2004, 98. 31 Sourvinou-Inwood 1988. 32 Ducat 2006, 936 discusses the ritual extensively; see also Kennell 1995, 74. 33 Marinatos 2000, 107. 34 Calame 1997, 98–9. 35 Sourvinou-Inwood 1988. 36 Turner 1969, 172–7 and 183–5. 37 Sourvinou-Inwood notes that the theme of pursuit and capture is associated with the completion of the arkteia, as a connotation with marriage, see Sourvinou- Inwood 1988, 65–6, n. 315; on hunting and sexuality, see Burkert 1983, 58–72. 38 Paus., 9.19.1. 39 Sourvinou-Inwood 1988, 123–4 and 128; on the notion of girls serving a period in Artemis’ sanctuary as an offering to the deity to placate her, see Parker 2005, 241. 40 Harden 1927; Janouchová 2013. 41 Burow 1986, 49–52, pls. 21, 22.1–6, fig. 22 (with previous bibliography). 42 Harden 1927, 94–5: Figurines wearing either a lion skin mantle, or a pointed cap known as Phrygian cap were interpreted as Artemides at Taranto. 43 Paus., 4.31.7–8; Osborne 2015, 14–16. 44 Vernant 1984. 45 Klinger 2001. 46 Kahil and Icard 1984, 2, nos. 595, 600a, and 648. See also Léger 2017, who adopts a contextual analysis of the votive material from Artemis’ sanctuaries. Calame 2009 suggests that the offerings to Artemis signify her role as regulator of female fertility. 47 Larson 2001, 100; Larson 2017. 48 Parkin 2013, 40–58.
Communities, consumption, and a cave 111 49 On the important role of Mariners in sanctuaries, see now Brown and Smith 2019. 50 Burton 1998. 51 Parker 2005, 218–9, 227–30, and 232–3. 52 Des Bouvrie 2009, 158. 53 Cole 2004, 228. On the significance of citizenship for women, see Stehle 2012, 193–4.
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114 Agathi Karadima Stratouli, G. and Metaxas. O. 2017. Tracing social changes in the Late Neolithic/ Final Neolithic transition at Drakaina Cave, Kephalonia, Western Greece. In Communities in Transition: The Circum- Aegean Area During the 5th and 4th Millennia BC, eds. S. Dietz, F. Mavridis, Ž. Tankosić and T. Takaoğlu, 305–13. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Turner, V. 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago, IL: Aldine. Vernant, J.-P. 1984. Une divinité des marges: Artémis Orthia. Recherches sur les cultes grecs de l’Occident 2. Centre du Jean Bérard IX. Naples: Institut Français de Naples.
6 A river ran through it Circulating images of ritual and engaging communities in a cave in Aitoloakarnania Alexander Nagel
Introduction Some of the more iconic assemblages, usually included in the canon of artistic representations of ancient Greek religion and ritual, have been found in cave contexts. This includes the remarkably well-preserved Archaic painted wooden panel fragments depicting a processional scene from the cave at Ano Pitsa near Sikyon in vibrant colours, and over 50,000 figurine fragments, some 25,000 knucklebones, and many other materials excavated in the Corycian Cave near Delphi in 1970 and 1971.1 Presenting a material assemblage from a cave sanctuary in Aitoloakarnania, the aim is to introduce and contextualise the finds in order to understand better worshippers’ gatherings and their engagement with the regional Aitoloakarnanian network landscape, rituals, other sanctuaries, and sites. As materialised metaphors of engagement with the natural environment, the Mastro Cave materials will improve our understanding and provide important insights on ideas of image circulation and ritual among communities on the western Greek mainland. Research on the nature of the relationship between people, religion, rituals, and the environment in ancient Greece is now an established field of academic writing.2 Within anthropological studies in a more anglophone context, the concept of wilderness has always loomed large.3 Wilderness, the uncivilised, is found in the earth, in forests, and in thunderous waters. As an entrance to the unknown, caves and waters, especially rivers, have always been characteristic features of wilderness. Emptying out into the waters of the Ionian Sea, the essential Acheloos River, which is so close to the Mastro Cave and which often marked a boundary between Aitolians and Akarnanians on the western Greek mainland, is the country’s second longest river. So much praised by the Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos (1884–1951), the majestic Acheloos continues to inspire modern Greek artists, even as its wilderness has been tamed and its natural course has long been modified.4 The people who lived and loved along the banks have long fascinated scholars, and if we are able to describe and identify past Acheloos River communities in the archaeological record, we will be able to present a microcosm of shared experiences and entanglements with
116 Alexander Nagel religion and the environment –a Greece within Greece. As ancient Greek waterscapes and the archaeological remains of Aitoloakarnania’s past have been a focus of exciting fieldwork and scholarly research5 in recent years, the Acheloos River environs deserve our attention, too. Extending far into Central Greece further north, the Acheloos River emptied out by the harbour city of Oiniadai, the remains of which have been well investigated in recent decades at modern Trikardo, some 9 km from the present coastline of the Ionian Sea.6 Ancient authors inform us that the Acheloos River was trafficked extensively, and ships would still go on the river as far as modern Katochi in the 1930s.7 Images of personifications of the Acheloos River and the nymphs associated circulated widely in antiquity, through coins and in other means, both inside and outside Aitoloakarnania.8
The Paracheloitis and beyond: A landscape explored Today, about 10 km northeast of the once so important ancient harbour city of Oiniadai, and only about a mile away from the current flow of the Acheloos River, the modern village of Mastro is approximately 4 km northeast of the modern towns of Katochi and Neochori (Figure 6.1). The Greek geographer Strabo (10.2.19) refers to the wider area extending over the mouth of the Acheloos River as the Paracheloitis. Mastro is on a modern road that connects the thriving cities of Aitoliko and Messolonghi with the villages of Stamna and Pentalophou further north. The name of Mastro is not attested before the nineteenth century. In antiquity, the area was part of the territory of Paianion, remains of which are still visible at Palaiokastro on a low scrub-covered chain of hills only about 500 m north of Mastro. Paianion was discussed only once in ancient literature by the Greek historian Polybius, who wrote between c. 200 and 118 B C E , when the people of Paianion supplied building materials for nearby Oiniadai.9 This may indicate some material wealth of the population of Paianion which will have derived from their work in the fertile landscapes close to the river and arable farming lands. First identified as Paianion in modern times by foreign traveller William Leake (1777–1860), the visible ruins of Palaiokastro were discussed by Hugues Bazin (1831–1868), who visited the site as a member of the French School in Athens, and by James Woodhouse (1783–1866).10 A modern sketch drawing of the preserved city walls of Paianion by the German archaeologist Ferdinand Noack (1865–1931) is preserved in the archives of the German Archaeological Institute.11 Both remains of Paianion and the ancient house structures closer to Mastro Cave, as well as the cave discussed below, were described by Greek archaeologists Kostas Konstas (1911– 1987) and by Photios Petsas (1918–2004) in the twentieth century.12 Irrigation workers in the 1960s uncovered the remnants of ancient house walls with floor mosaics, which the then excavator in charge P. Petsas compared to contemporaneous Hellenistic floor mosaics from Olynthos, Pella, and other sites in northern Greece.13 In his recent study of the etymology and the meaning of the word
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Figure 6.1 Aitoloakarnania: Mastro and sites discussed in this essay. Map: T. Anker.
Paianion, I. Nerantzis suggested that the name derives from the paionia (peony) flower rather than the paian (the song). I. Nerantzis also discussed that, because of an abundance of these flowers in the plain, past inhabitants may have referred to the area as the region of the Paianion fields.14 For the various reasons listed above, Paianion and the Mastro plain need also to be discussed in the context of ancient Oiniadai. According to a third century BC E inscription (IG IX2 1.3B), Oiniadai was bordered in the north by Metropolis, which scholars identified by modern Palaiomanina.15 Those who lived in Paianion would likely have had relatives and peers in communities in Oiniadai and Metropolis. The same communities also became entangled in the dense network of villages in the East. Excavations were conducted near modern Stamna, Angelokastro (ancient Arsinoe), at Chilia Spitia (a “Thousand Houses”), near the modern village of Aghios Thomas by Messolonghi. Ancient Alykirna, and Makyneia revealed extensive remains of Hellenistic houses and tombs proving that those living in the Paracheloitis were immersed in a dense cluster of ancient settlements here, too, particularly during the Classical and Hellenistic periods, when the Mastro Cave sanctuary and Paianion, according to the relative chronology introduced below, was most frequently visited.16 A focused documentation investigating ancient Aitoloakarnanian settlement networks and cavescapes began only recently, and a full publication of the results of our ongoing work on the Mastro Cave sanctuary
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Figure 6.2 Mastro Cave: Entrance situation. Photograph: S. Katsarou.
assemblage will considerably increase our knowledge and understanding of ancient networks and the realities of the rituals that took place. That Aitoloakarnanian caves were places of worship and veneration, is attested in the written record. The second-century traveller Pausanias refers to a cave in Naupaktos in which “Aphrodite is worshipped, to whom prayers are offered for various reasons, and especially by widows who ask the goddess to grant them marriage.”17 The Mastro Cave sanctuary is situated on a slightly elongated hill, covered by trees (Figure 6.2). After a brief note published shortly after World War II,18 the cave was reported by community members of Mastro only in 2015. Rescue excavations in the entrance of the cave sanctuary were conducted in the spring of 2016 by the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.19 The extent of the cave seems to have been limited to one chamber with a natural lake. Inside the chamber today there is a modern water pump installation. The entrance to the cave is on the southern side of the elongation and overlooks the plain. Except for ancient roof tile fragments inside the deposit discussed below, there is no evidence suggesting the existence of any more durable artificially created architecture inside the cave. Today, one can descend over a staircase down into the landing of the cave (Figure 6.3). Because of intense use and
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Figure 6.3 Mastro Cave: Staircase and descent. Photographs: A. Darlas.
looting happening in the past, the stratigraphy would not allow for relative chronological sequences in which the materials were deposited, and a relative chronology can only be established in analogy with materials from other sites. The excavation was followed by a find processing season in 2017, during which the author was invited to join the team and prepare the materials for final publication. This preliminary overview introduces and discusses only representative groups of materials, such as ceramic vessels, figurines, and other materials that promise to enrich our knowledge on aspects of material circulation by worshippers and cave visitors. The earliest materials are reportedly from the early Iron Age. The goal of this chapter is to contextualise the material assemblage and to introduce the current approach taken to study the assemblage as material metaphors in ongoing research on networks of communities and economies in the ancient Aitoloakarnanian environment. Despite our still limited knowledge about the circulation of imagery and ideas of cult in ancient Aitoloakarnania, it is possible to make some preliminary observations.
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Figure 6.4 Mastro Cave: Assemblage of figurine fragments. Photographs: Author.
Engaging with figurines in an Aitoloakarnanian cave sanctuary The modest quality of the figurine fragments excavated in the Mastro Cave sanctuary noticed by K. Konstas belies the characteristically high quality and fame of Aitoloakarnanian coroplastic industries and workshops at large. More recently substantiated again with an extraordinary large amount of figurine fragments excavated at Alikyrna20 but more so with the amount of well-preserved figurines found elsewhere in Aitoloakarnanian sanctuaries at sites such as Kalydon, Spolaita, Gkionia, Chrysovitsa, and the large-scale terracotta sculptures found across the region, these coroplastic products fascinated modern scholars since archaeological fieldwork began.21 At the Mastro Cave sanctuary, no such large-scale sculpture has been recovered yet, and the figurine fragments –in the majority made from local yellowish clay ware and fabrics –is all that remains (Figure 6.4). Knowing that what we have is only a small portion of the materials worshippers deposited here once, the Mastro sanctuary cave figurine assemblage can still contribute to our understanding of ancient Aitoloakarnanian coroplastic arts. Early fragments include Archaic protomes with almond- shaped eyes and the characteristic Archaic smile. They represent well-known types indicative of a Corinthian influence in the area and imports from the East. On the preserved heads, physiognomic features such as hair and jewellery, other iconographic details, and stylistic features allow us to identify the protomes as representations of women of wealth. The figurines include representations of enthroned and standing images. Very few figurines represent men. Some of the heads have suspension holes indicating that the images may once have hung on threads in the cave or in the space they had been displayed before. These icons of women of wealth are polysemic avatars: scholars acknowledge
A river ran through it 121 that they can be identified as both images of the worshippers themselves or as images of the deities honoured.22 Within the corpus of standing figurines of women at the Mastro Cave sanctuary, some hold fruits and others a wreath. A small group of bow-holding figurines is characteristic of an iconographic repertoire once very popular and widely disseminated on the western Greek mainland (Figure 6.5). This type of figurines is well known from various size examples excavated at other sites along the Acheloos River as far as sanctuaries at Stratos and Spolaita,23 as well as further west in Akarnania, but also in Kalydon, Thyrreion, and other sites in Aitolia.24 The no-longer preserved chryselephantine cult statue of Artemis, which was once at the heart of worship in the influential and important Artemision in Kalydon, represented the goddess as a huntress. According to Pausanias, this statue was made by two artists, Menaichmos and Soidas from Naupaktos, which had its own Artemis Aitole sanctuary, in which she was presented hurling a javelin.25 Recent analysis on materials from excavations near Stratos revealed that terracotta figurines deposited in cultic contexts could represent the image of a famous cult statue.26 Do some of the figurines in the Mastro Cave corpus represent images of such regional cult statues? Were the coroplasts working for the Mastro Cave worshippers inspired by cult images of goddesses and gods on display in Aitoloakarnanian sanctuaries nearby? A recent study by C. Antonetti suggests that the Kalydonian Artemis must have stood at the centre of a dense web of cultural relations that covered most of Aitoloakarnania and Central Greece.27 That such a network existed along the Acheloos River is without doubt since a number of rural sanctuaries excavated in recent decades share similar iconographic repertoires.28 That icons of representations of an Artemis circulated among communities nearby until the Roman period is attested by a well-preserved sculpture found in the village of Pentalophou north of Mastro in 1951.29 A second characteristic type excavated in the Mastro Cave includes fragments of figurines of dancers joined in a circle (Figure 6.4). There are well-preserved examples of such groups of dancers from excavations in other sites in Aitoloakarnania, particularly from the cave sanctuary of Kouritas near Vonitsa.30 As groups of dancers and vase paintings depicting dancing women are preserved in great quantities in Greece, discussions focused traditionally on the interpretation and meanings of music and dance in ancient Greek rituals.31 The vast quantity of dancer figurines deposited in ancient cave sanctuaries in Aitoloakarnania, at cave sanctuaries at Kephallonia and elsewhere in the region, indicate that music and dance were popular experiences of community gatherings which belonged most likely to a rite of passage festival. As we lack modern research on festivals associated with rites of passage in Aitoloakarnania, the new icons from the Mastro Cave illustrate a very important aspect of Aitoloakarnania’s deep history of communal gatherings involving sound and dance.32 In antiquity, the region was home to many more artistic interpretations related to music and dance. An assemblage
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Figure 6.5 Mastro Cave: Bow-holding figurine type. Photograph: Author.
A river ran through it 123 of figurines of an Apollo playing a lyre was excavated at the Gkionia site near Stratos.33 Painted lyre players are also featured on small lekythoi from the so-called Agrinio ware group series found in the Makrynia region south of Lake Trichonida in Aitolia.34 A fragment of a red-painted krater depicts a lyre player and actual fragments of an aulos, a pair of sistra, and cymbals have been excavated together with figurines of musicians in Ambracia further north, an area known for famous musicians in ancient written sources.35 A tombstone found near Vonitsa in 1891 depicts a bearded man holding a lyre and a plectrum. The depicted man has been interpreted as a “rhapsodos.”36 Some of the figurines of dancers in the Mastro Cave sanctuary corpus still preserve fingerprints, while others preserve traces of original paint.37 High Resolution Scanning of these fingerprints will allow us to contribute to the ongoing discussion about aspects of ancient Greek coroplastic craftmanship and production mechanism. A figurine fragment in the assemblage bears strong resemblance to products from a mould used in the production of coroplastic materials in Stratos. Moulds excavated in Stratos, Tyrrheion, and other sites in Aitoloakarnania prove that the region was indeed a centre of coroplastic production and coroplastic materials circulated widely in Aitoloakarnanian sanctuaries and tombs.38 These coroplastic workshops catered to the needs of residents and worshippers, and local coroplasts in Oiniadai, Paianion, and other sites in the Paracheloitis may have exercised the role of suppliers, too. What was the meaning of the figurines in the Mastro Cave sanctuary? As semas of cult statues from nearby sanctuaries, the figurines were likely deposited by worshipping families in some institutionalised practices, such as rites of passage or festivals related to the agricultural year. That the communities of Paianion engaged in the creation and circulation of images familiar to audiences beyond proves once again that the Paracheloitis can be studied as a microcosm of understanding ancient Greek religion at large. On a broader level, the figurines help us to understand how ancient Paianians engaged with the environment, including aspects of the wilderness tamed by deities such as the ever-present Aitoloakarnanian Artemis.
Feasting with friends and the community: Interpreting ceramic containers in an Aitoloakarnanian cave The excavated material assemblage contained a great number of ceramic fragments of diverse shapes. Many of these belonged to coarse ware vessels, originally part of cooking and storage containers which indicates that visitors and worshippers consumed food while spending considerable time together.39 Following recent developments in the study of excavated ceramic assemblages in Greece, ongoing studies of the Mastro Cave sanctuary ceramic collections will expand our knowledge considerably, as they allow a study of aspects of communal feasting in an Aitoloakarnanian cave sanctuary for the first time.40 Further north, along the Acheloos River in Stratos, recent research has
124 Alexander Nagel helped us to evaluate aspects of the original use and function of storage and drinking vessels, even aspects of the types of food consumed.41 Fragments of fine ceramics from the cave include such with painted concentric circles décor and fragments known to represent several stages of fine ceramics in Aitoloakarnania’s early Iron Age. Vessel fragments from the Archaic and later periods allow us to reconstruct skyphoi and kylikes, pyxides, phialai, plates, and a thymiaterion. Each group allows us to reconstruct one aspect of the gathering, which involved drinking, eating, and smell. Fragments of black figure-painted vessels depict a warrior figure and a white-skinned goddess with a spear (Figure 6.6). At least two fragments of red figure-painted vessels preserve the remains of painted feathers (Figure 6.7). Parallels to such painted winged figures on ceramics have been excavated elsewhere in Aitoloakarnania and in the region as far as the Ambracian Gulf.42 The ceramic assemblage also includes fragments from Hellenistic mould-made
Figure 6.6 Mastro Cave: Fragment of black-figure vessel depicting a warrior figure and a white-skinned goddess with a spear. Photograph: Author.
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Figure 6.7 Mastro Cave: Fragment of red-figure painting. Photograph: Author.
relief bowls (Figure 6.8), which have been excavated in great quantities in Aitoloakarnania. Close parallels come from the site at Oiniadai and her ship-sheds and Naupaktos.43 Moulds of such relief bowls have been found during excavations at Oiniadai: Vasso Tsantila has estimated that 27% of the mould-made relief vases documented in Oiniadai were manufactured by two local workshops.44 The typical rosette medallion found on bowl fragments excavated at Oiniadai can be found in one example from the Mastro sanctuary cave, too. A considerable quantity of miniature vessels and fragments thereof excavated in the cave provides further evidence for activities and the investment of communities in social gatherings. These vessels include miniature lekythoi, krateriskoi, and kotyliskoi (Figure 6.9). At least one such painted kotyliskos, a miniature version of the conventional kotyle, with a hemispherical body and two horizontal loop handles attached below the lip is completely preserved
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Figure 6.8 Mastro Cave: Relief bowl fragments. Photograph: Author.
with original organic contents (Figure 6.10).45 Analysis of the biomass has great potential to shed light on aspects of food offerings made.46 It is expected that this analysis and subsequent research will greatly enhance our knowledge about reconstructing food deposition habits in the cave sanctuary and about the dietary habits of the people of Paianion as organic material and biomass from Aitoloakarnania have rarely been analysed.47 Here, we are reminded of the important contributions made by scholars who have worked on the materials from the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Corinth, where deposits of wheat, olive pits, faunal, and floral remains, such as scattered bones from the dining rooms, and various fills throughout the site have been analysed and discussed, and other more recent investigations into the dietary habits in Central Greece.48 Brumfield’s thorough discussion of the different foods served in the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Corinth included a useful summary of ancient sources related to food offerings.49 A. Brumfield suggests that empty cups, which she refers to as kotyliskoi, could have held liquids.50 That such kotyliskoi were a regular feature in cult in Aitoloakarnania and adjacent regions is attested with the numerous dedications of such miniature vessels in sanctuaries as well as in pyres at home.51 That the ceramics from the Mastro Cave are leftovers of community gatherings held in the cave should be clear. The thymiaterion fragment proves
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Figure 6.9 Mastro Cave: Assemblage of miniature lekythoi, krateriskoi, and kotyliskoi. Photographs: Author.
that these gatherings included an engagement with smell. Recent work on the role of senses in past sanctuaries confirms that smell played an important role in ancient Greek religion.52 Work by M. Dietler, B. Hayden, C. Hastorf, and other anthropologists have considerably improved our knowledge and theory behind food and feasting in the ancient world and the role of food in archaeology,53 and it is expected that our ongoing work on the ceramic assemblage and the residues will improve knowledge on feasting and food as a principal
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Figure 6.10 Mastro Cave: Kotyliskos with edible food offer. Photograph: Author.
medium for social interaction in the Paracheloitis and by the Acheloos River in Aitoloakarnania at large. An assemblage of over 40 lamp fragments, many with signs of wear, was found (Figure 6.11). Some of these show traces of smoke around the nozzle. This assemblage is likely to be only a fraction of what was used originally in the cave, as other cave sanctuaries yielded large quantities.54 In recent years, V. Tsantila developed an excellent relative chronology within the considerable corpus of ancient lamps excavated in Aitoloakarnania.55 According to her, many of these lamps, few of which date to the Classical period,56 were imports or local imitations of lamps from other regions in the East. Relatively few of the lamps excavated in Aitoloakarnania seem to come from domestic contexts, as many were found in tombs and sanctuaries.57 Naturally, the lamps from the Mastro Cave find close parallels to other excavated examples published from tombs in Arsinoe (modern Angelokastro), Oiniadai, Thyrreion in Aitolia, as well as in examples excavated at Ambracia and Leukas.58 Tsantila’s detailed and very helpful typology allows us to date the types presented in the Mastro Cave assemblage between the third century
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Figure 6.11 Mastro Cave: Assemblage of lamps. Photographs: Author.
and the second century C E . Other better preserved examples of lamp fragments from the cave have parallels in Delphi, and even in sanctuaries at Isthmia, Corinth, and Athens.59 Recent approaches to the importance of light and darkness in ancient Greek rituals emphasize the role such lamps had in caves.60 The lighting of lamps itself can be studied as part of the ritual and engagements of worshippers with the region.61 The lamps contained a liquid or liquefied fuel, such as rendered animal fat, and the worshippers would have lit the entrance area of the cave as the communities from Paianion came together. Obviously, it is not known whether the worshippers came during the day or whether the visits included nocturnal activities. In many ways, the coroplastic art of Aitoloakarnania provides great evidence for the use of torches and light in ancient Greek religion.62 BCE
Products of the sea A considerable number of shells was excavated in the Mastro Cave (Figure 6.12). Early on valued as ornaments throughout the Aegean, shells have been found in prehistoric caves as well as in caves and larger sanctuaries on the western Greek mainland.63 Rough cockles, a common edible bivalve species, were often found in sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow waters,64 and we can assume that the Mastro Cave sanctuary shells were brought from worshippers who had picked these up at the Acheloos River. In her recent discussion of shell assemblages excavated from a sanctuary at Kythnos, Tatiana Theodoropoulou refers to specific connections, which can be made between such shell assemblages, the goddess Artemis and water in the broad sense. Often, Artemis’s power encompassed areas where land and water met, such as lakes (Artemis Limnaia), marshes (Limnatis), shores (Paralia), and harbours (Limenitis, Limenoskopos).
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Figure 6.12 Mastro Cave: Molluscs offerings. Photograph: Author.
Theodoropoulou also noted that “offerings to a deity related to waters and shorelines …[…]… were possibly as firstlings deposited by fishermen/ collectors praying for abundant catches, as the goddess was said to be helpful to fishers (Artemis Limnatis).”65 The Mastro Cave sanctuary worshippers have deposited humble offering shells, including rough cockles (Acanthocardia tuberculata) and Nassariid gastropods. The closest parallel and best preserved assemblage comes certainly from the excavations in the Corycian Cave near Delphi, where the excavators counted approximately 428 shells from 32 different taxa, namely dog cockles (Veneridae family) and cockles (Cardiidae family).66 In their very brief discussion of the finds, the excavators suggested that the shells were brought as offerings to the cave by pilgrims coming from the coast. The evidence of products from the water in the Mastro Cave sanctuary leads us to rethink the role of water within ancient Greek cave cult. As mentioned above, the interior of our cave comprises a natural water lake. If water was an important feature of the Mastro Cave sanctuary, can we think of rituals related to cleaning and healing, two aspects practiced to this day in other cave sanctuaries of Greece?67
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Roof tiles, textiles, and beyond The largest quantity of materials recovered in the ritual deposit inside the entrance of the Mastro Cave sanctuary are fragmented roof tiles. Many of them are covered by red, brown, or dark paint.68 One would wonder whether the tiles were remains of shrines standing in the entrance or nearby. Alternatively, the excavators considered whether the roof tiles were used as “platforms for the clean placement of the offerings or …[…]… served as trays for carrying items into the cave.”69 In light of the evidence from recently studied material from a sanctuary assemblage in Gkionia near Stratos, which included a considerable number of roof tile fragments,70 and from other cave shrines in Greece, the author suggests that these tiles are what is left of shrines which stood originally near the entrance of the cave sanctuary. At least one such tile fragment preserves an impression, possibly of a canine’s paw (Figure 6.13). Other objects excavated in the Mastro Cave assemblage are related to textiles once worn (Figure 6.14) and textile production. Loom weights have been a consistent feature in sanctuaries and in the larger settlements of Aitoloakarnania. A project currently carried out on the vast assemblages related to textile production at Makyneia (over 2,300 textile tools were collected from a total of 29 buildings dating between the Archaic and Hellenistic periods) near Kalydon demonstrates that textiles were valued in every part of the Aitoliakarnanian society. The local and regional sea and river focused communities would have found ways to address this aspect in the worshipping of the Mastro Cave and sanctuaries in the region.71
Engagements at Paianion: Caves, crafts, wilderness, and an analytical approach “The Feast of Achelous” by the Dutch painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577– 1640) captures well how people imagined the joyous activities of ancient Greek communities in their gatherings at a cave. In Rubens’ imaginary view, worshippers sit around a table covered with trays of fish and other products from the sea, fruits, and wine. Shells are dispersed on the ground and are hung against the walls. Such a romantic view of an idyllic life in an ancient Mediterranean cave is a wonderful way of imagining what may have brought communities to the Paianion cave sanctuary in Mastro: the idea of coming together. Activities in cave sanctuaries were long neglected in modern literature on ancient Greek cult and religion. In understanding the archaeology of the Mastro Cave sanctuary, we only have the final moment captured of what happened as we attempt to reconstruct ways of life and engagement with the cave and the Acheloos River communities. At present, the assemblages can be considered as material metaphors of engagement with the environment and
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Figure 6.13 Mastro Cave: Tile fragment. Photograph: S. Katsarou.
Figure 6.14 Mastro Cave: Bone fibula. Photograph: Author.
A river ran through it 133 rites of passage. Actual dancing may, but drinking and feasting must have been part of the activities in which the communities of Paianion engaged with natural sources believed to be in the cave and the environment. The deposition of edible food offerings, figurines made from local resources, and products from water sources nearby, and the lighting of lamps and the communal engagement through feasting, all indicates activities that included members of the ancient poleis in the Paracheloitis. Some of the figurines fit into an already known characteristic corpus of coroplastic materials in that the local pantheon, including Artemis, protector of the religious system and the environment in Aitolioakarnania, was safeguarding upbringing aspects and the community at large.72 A preliminary analysis of the materials allows to refine activities of worship in the Mastro Cave sanctuary and introduce these as aspects of rites of passage in which the local populations honoured the local deities envisioned in the cave and its environment. In this way, the Mastro Cave complex is indicative of other regional cave sanctuaries, such as the one referred to by Pausanias near Naupaktos where widows engaged with an important deity to grant them marriage (see above). The materials in the Mastro Cave allow us to understand circulating ideas of images of coroplasts and potters at the banks of the Acheloos River who bartered their products for local communities that would visit the Mastro Cave sanctuary to express their hopes and wishes for the future. The Mastro Cave sanctuary context can only be understood better if opportunities for research collaborations between the modern Mastro communities and experts are possible. With the establishment of a local team invested in pedagogic activities in Aitoloakarnania and the efforts of the Ephorate of Archaeology in Messolonghi, which cares for the cultural heritage and ancient monuments in the region, much has been achieved in the preservation of the Aitoloakarnanian past, and the many achievements have been rightly praised as an “αρχαιολογικό θαύμα.”73 The 2016 excavation campaign in the Mastro Cave was followed by a prize winning educational programme. Early on, Stella Katsarou highlighted that it would be important to engage and include the local communities in every aspect of research.74 I am grateful to be part of the team as we begin to understand the activities in Paianion and the Acheloos River communities at large.
Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the generous invitation of Stella Katsarou, Andreas Darlas, Yorgos Valvis, and the communities of Mastro and Katochi allowing him to participate in the project of studying the materials from the Mastro Cave. It is an honor and privilege to work with such dedicated friends. Regional communities made wonderful headlines in preserving this important site, thanks to the initiative of Kostas Katsaros. Thank you to my colleagues and friends in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., especially Melinda Zeder and Torben Rick, and to
134 Alexander Nagel colleagues and friends in Greece, in particular Constantine Ananiades. For introducing me to the land and people of Aitoloakarnania first in 2002, I would like to thank Franziska Lang (TU Darmstadt), Lazaros Kolonas (Athens) and the wonderful friends I made there including Lina Makradima, Giorgos Stamatis, and other colleagues and friends in the region. Without the inspiration and support of Franziska Lang and Lazaros Kolonas, none of my work in this region would have been possible. It is their encouragement which guided me to understand the river and cultures of this region.
Notes 1 Orlandos 1965; Amandry 1984. 2 E.g. Larson 2007; Scheer 2018; Schimpf et al. 2018; Sporn 2006; Sporn 2013; Sporn 2019; Sporn 2020; Sporn et al. 2015. 3 Cronon 1995. 4 Balafas 2002. 5 Research on sites throughout the region is facilitated thanks to the efforts of Dr. Olympia Vikatou in the Ephorate in Messolonghi and her team of experienced archaeologists. 6 Fouache et al. 2005; Voett 2007; Diamanti et al. 2014; Schriever 2013. 7 Kirsten 1937: 2207; Freitag 1998. 8 Molinari 2016; Isler 1970, 1981, 1996; Bremmer 2019; Funke et al. 2019. 9 Pol. IV, 65, 2–9; Murray 1982; Freitag 1994; Kolonas 2018. 10 Nerantzis 2013, 214–15; Leake 1853, 553; Bazin 1864, 340–3; Woodhouse 1897, 161–2; Bommelje 1987, 96; Portelanos 1998, 123–30. 11 Kirsten 1942 (after a plan by F. Noack); Noack 1916; on Noack’s many contributions to field research in Greece, see Lang 2017 and Krüger and Lipps 2017. 12 Konstas 1945–47; Petsas 1971. 13 Petsas 1971. These floor mosaics were transferred to the Museum in Patras. 14 Nerantzis 2013. 15 Pritchett 1991, 8– 15; Portelanos 1998, 1192– 1215; Gehrke, Wirbelauer 2004 No. 128; Vikatou 2015, 11, fig. 2; Lambrinoudakis 2013; Lambrinoudakis 2018; Lambrinoudakis, Kazolias 2016. 16 Soteriades 1906; Tsantila 2011; Vikatou 2014; Vikatou 2017. 17 Paus. 10.38.12; Nagel 2010, 238. 18 Konstans 1945–47, 15. 19 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17, 98–100, figs. 84–9. 20 Vikatou 2018. 21 E.g. Chrysovitsa: Rhomaios 1921–2; Vikatou 2015, 32–33; Large-Scale Terracotta arts: Vikatou 2015, 26–8; Bookidis 2018; Hübner 2018. 22 Muller 2017–2018, 161. 23 Funke 2001, 198 fig. 11; Kolonas 2004; Nagel 2009, fig. 5; Lang 2016, 743. 24 Rhomaios 1921–22; Kolonas 2006; Barfoed 2017. 25 Paus. 7.18.8-10; Antonetti 2019: 151; Antonetti 1990, 256–7. 26 Nagel 2010. 27 Antonetti, 2019, 151. 28 Kolonas 2004, 2006; Ralli 2018.
A river ran through it 135 29 Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Inv. No. 4019. Kaltsas 2003, 250 No. 519. First published by Semni Karouzou in 1953 (Archaiologike Ephemeris 1953– 54, I, 63–66, figs. 1–2, pls. 1–3). The popularity of the Artemis image in these later times is reflected in the Heroon of Kalydon and the preserved image of in the Archaeological Museum of Agrinion. Bol 1988. The old sanctuary of Artemis Laphria was still visited in the early fourth century CE . 30 Chatziotou 2015; Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17, 97, figs. 82, 83 see also, Figure 8.2 in this volume (Chapter by Katja Sporn). 31 Brommer 1989; Zarifi 2007; Barber 2014; Bellia 2016. Manakidou 2017; Gianvittorio 2017; Naerebout 2019; Laferrière 2019; Angliker 2020. 32 For neighboring regions, however, Baudy 1998. 33 Nagel 2009, 298 fig. 6; Nagel 2015, 456, fig. 4. 34 Zapheiropoulou et al. 2011, 58–9, figs. 40–1. 35 Riginos 2008, 54. 36 Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Inv. No. 735. Kaltsas 2003, 97 no. 171, 460 B C E . 37 Mastro Excavations, Inv. Nos: SM 2016–13; SM 2016–19. 38 Ambracia: Riginos 2008, 46–7 “Satyros.” 39 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17, 100. 40 Hilditch 2017. 41 Prust 2013; Sieverling 2019; Lang and Sieverling 2017. 42 Riginos 2008: 44 No. 3. Cp. also the two gilded Hellenistic winged Nikes on silver plaques from a tomb south of the Lake Trichonida: Zapheiropoulou et al. 2011, 83, fig. 19. 43 Serveti et al. 2014; Tsantila 2012; Tsantila 2016; Stavropoulou- Gatsi and Saranti 2009. 44 Tsantila 2016, 228–9. 45 Examples at Corinth: Stillwell and Benson 1984, 187. 46 Jameson 1949; Bruit-Zaidman 2005; Lagia 2015a and b. 47 Bookidis et al. 1999; Brumfield 1997. 48 Bookidis and Fisher 1974, 283–4; Bookidis and Stroud, 347–48; Gkatzogia 2018. 49 Brumfield 1997, 149–58. 50 Brumfield 1997, 1997, 155. 51 Riginos 2008, 82. 52 Burkert 1985, 76; Bradley 2015. 53 Dietler and Hayden 2001; Hamilakis 2008; Van de Eijnde 2018; Hastorf 2017. 54 Bassett 1903 documented over 1,000 lamp fragments at the Vari Cave in Attica. 55 Tsantila 2018. 56 Tsantila 2018, 210 with fn. 18 for contexts of lamps from the Classical period recovered in contexts in Chalkis, Kalydon, and Trichoneion. 57 E.g. Bollen 2011; Bollen and Eiting 2011a, b. 58 Tsantila 2011; Serveti et al. 2009, 261–63; Stavropoulou-Gatsi 2009; Riginos 2008, 97. 59 Lindrows Wohl 2017; Jacqemin in Amandry et al. 1984; Broneer 1930; Howland 1958; Scheibler 1976. 60 Parisinou 2000; Christopoulos et al. 2010. 61 Nilsson 1950; Ismaelli 2020, 7–9. 62 Rhomaios 1921, 70 notes terracotta torch fragments at Chrysovitsa. A great number of figurines with torches were also found in the Gkionia deposit: Nagel 2009.
136 Alexander Nagel 63 Szabó et al. 2014; Theodoropoulou 2018. 64 Theodoropoulou 2013. 65 Theodoropoulou 2013, 209–10. 66 Amandry 1984, 378–80, figs. 43–4. 67 Håland 2007, 56–58; Von Ehrenheim et al. 2019. 68 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17, 99–100, fig. 88. 69 Katsarou and Darlas 2016–17, 100. 70 Nagel 2009. 71 Georma and Saranti 2018; Saranti and Nikolovieni 2018. 72 On Artemis cult specifics in the region, still useful: Baudy 1998. For excellent general comments on the Artemis cult specifics in the Greek countryside, Dufeu- Muller et al. 2010. 73 Kontos 2018, 11. 74 Fotiadis 1993.
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A river ran through it 141 Naerebout, F. 2019. Achoreutos Apaideutos: Dance in ancient Greece. In Hymn to Apollo. The Ancient World and the Ballets Russes, ed. C. Fitzgerald, 28–51. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Nagel, A. 2009. Searching for the Gods at ancient Akarnania: New evidence from a ritual deposit near Stratos, Greece. Anodos. Studies of the Ancient World 6–7 (2006–07) , 289–97. Nagel, A. 2010. Encountering the world of Aphrodite on the western Greek mainland. In Aphrodite Revealed, eds. A. Smith and S. Pickup, 235–50. Leiden: Brill. Nagel, A. 2015. Retrospectives and perspectives. Terracotta figurines from a votive deposit in Stratos (Akarnania). In Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine 2: Iconographie et contextes, eds. A. Muller E. Laflı and S. HuysecomHaxhi, 449–56. Archaiologia. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Nerantzis, I. 2013. Οικωνύμιο `Παιάνιον’ και οικοπεριβάλλον αρχαίας Αιτωλίας. Η ετυμολογική τους συνάφεια. Ta Aitolika 20, 211–41. Nilsson, M. 1950. Lampen und Kerzen im Kult der Antike. Opuscola Archaeologica 6, 96–111. Noack, F. 1916. Befestigte griechische Städte in Aetolien und Akarnanien. Archäologischer Anzeiger 31, 227–8. Orlandos, A. K. 1965. Pitsa. Enciclopedia dell’ arte antica classica e orientale VI, 201– 20. Rome. Parisinou, E. 2000. The Light of the Gods: The Role of Light in Archaic and Classical Greek Cult. London: Duckworth. Petsas, F. 1971. Αρχαιότητες και μνημεία στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία: Μάστρο. Archaiologikon Deltion 26, 319–20. Portelanos, A. 1998. Οι αρχαίες αιτωλικές οχυρώσεις. PhD thesis, University of Crete. Pritchett, W. K. 1991. Studies in Ancient Greek Topography VI. University of California Publications in Classical Studies 33. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press. Prust, A. 2013. Faunal remains from Stratos. In Interdisziplinäre Forschungen in Akarnanien, eds. F. Lang, P. Funke, L. Kolonas and E.-L. Schwandner, 205–18. Akarnanien Forschungen 1. Bonn: Habelt. Ralli, N. 2018. Κεραμική από το ιερό της Αρτέμιδος Επικρατείας στο Δρυμώνα Ακαρνανίας. In Το Αρχαιολογικό έργο στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τη Λευκάδα. Πρακτικά 2oυ Διεθνoύς Αρχαιολογικού και Ιστορικού Συνεδρίου, Ι. Π. Μεσολογγίου, 6–8 Δεκεμβρίου 2013, eds. O. Vikatou, V. Staikou and F. Saranti, 207–8. Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas. Rhomaios, K. 1920–21. Κόραι από την Αιτωλία. Archaiologikon Deltion 6, 60–97. Riginos, G. 2008. Ambrakia. Guidebook of the Archaeological Museum of Arta. Athens: Ministry of Culture. Saranti, F. and Nikolovieni, G. 2018. Textile tools from ancient Makyneia (Greece): The case of buildings A and B. In Textiles and Dyes in the Mediterranean Economy and Society. Textiles and Dyes in Antiquity, eds. M. S. Busana, M. Gleba, F. Meo and A. R. Tricomi, 61–6. Zaragoza: Libros Pórtico. Scheer, T., ed. 2018. Natur – Mythos – Religion im antiken Griechenland. Stuttgart: Steiner. Scheibler, I. 1976. Kerameikos XI: Griechische Lampen. Berlin: De Gruyter. Schimpf, F., D. Berrens, K. Hillenbrand, T. Brandes and Schidlo, C., eds. 2018. Naturvorstellungen im Altertum: Schilderungen und Darstellungen von Natur im Alten Orient und in der griechischen Antike. Oxford: Archaeopress.
142 Alexander Nagel Serveti, E., Panagou, T. and Eustathopoulou, A. 2009. Κεραμική από το νεκροταφείο των Οινιαδών. In Ελληνιστική Κεραμική από την Αρχαία Ήπειρο, την Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τα Ιόνια Νησιά, ed. V. Theophilopoulou, 259–66. Athens: Ministry of Culture. Serveti, E., Panagou, T. and Eusthatopoulou, A. 2014. Ελληνιστική κεραμική από το νεκροταφείο των Οινιαδών. In Η΄ Επιστημονική Συνάντηση για την Ελληνιστι κή Κεραμική, Ιωάννινα, 5–9 Μαΐου 2009. Πρακτικά, 125–32. Athens: Ministry of Culture and Sports. Schriever, A. 2013. Paleographic studies of the former island Trikardo and the ancient city of Oiniadai in the Acheloos Delta plain in Akarnania. In Interdisziplinäre Forschungen in Akarnanien, eds. F. Lang, P. Funke, L. Kolonas and E.- L. Schwandner, 219–32. Akarnanien Forschungen 1 Bonn: Habelt. Sieverling, A. 2019. Ernährung in Stratos und der Stratiké. Bonn: Habelt. Soteriades, G. 1906. Από τάφους στην Αιτωλία. Archaiologike Ephemeris, 87. Sporn, K. 2006. Höhlenheiligtümer in Griechenland. In Kult und Kommunikation. Medien in Heiligtümern der Antike, eds. C. Frevel and H. v. Heesberg, 39–62. Wiesbaden: Reichert. Sporn, K. 2013. Mapping Greek sacred caves: Sources, features, cults. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 202–11. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Sporn, K. 2019. Natural features in Greek cult places: The case of Athens. In Natur – Mythos – Religion im antiken Griechenland, ed. T. Scheer, 29–48. Stuttgart: Steiner. Sporn, K. 2020. Man-made space versus natural space in Greek cult caves. In Hellenistic Architecture and Human Action. A Case of Reciprocal Influence, International Conference, University of Kiel, 30.10.– 2.11.2018, eds. A. Haugg and A. Müller, 161–81. Scales of Transformation 10. Leiden: Sidestone Press. Sporn, K., Ladstätter, S. and Kerscher, M., eds. 2015. Natur – Kult – Raum: Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums. Paris- Lodron-Universität Salzburg, 20–22. Jänner 2012. Wien: Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut. Stavropoulou-Gatsi, M. 2009. Ελληνιστικά ταφικά σύνολα από το Θύρρειο Ακαρνανίας. In Ελληνιστική Κεραμική από την Αρχαία Ήπειρο, την Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τα Ιόνια Νησιά, ed. V. Theophilopoulou, 231–44. Athens: Ministry of Culture. Stavropolou-Gatsi, M. and Saranti, F. 2009. Ελληνιστική κεραμική από το οικόπεδο Β. Κούκουνα στη Ναύπακτο. In Ελληνιστική Κεραμική από την Αρχαία Ήπειρο, την Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τα Ιόνια Νησιά, ed. V. Theophilopoulou, 267–78. Athens: Ministry of Culture. Stillwell, A. and Benson, J. L. 1984. The Potters’ Quarter: The Pottery. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Szabó, K., Dupont, C., Dimitrijević, V, Gastélum L. G., Serrand, N., eds. 2014. Archaeomalacology: Shells in the Archaeological Record. BAR International Series 2666. Oxford: Archaeopress. Theodoropoulou, T. 2013. The sea in the temple? Seashells from the sanctuary of the ancient town of Kythnos and other marine stories of cult. In Bones, Behaviour and Belief: The Osteological Evidence as a Source for Greek Ritual Practices, eds. G. Ekroth and J. Wallensten, 197–222. Stockholm: Svenska Institutet i Athen. Tsantila, V. 2011. Ταφικά σύνολα από τα ελληνιστικά νεκροταφεία της Αρσινόης (σημερινό Αγγελόκαστρο) Αιτωλοακαρνανίας. In Ζ΄ Επιστημονική Συνάντηση για την Ελληνιστική Κεραμική από την Πελοπόννησο, Αίγιο, 4–9 Απριλίου 2005, 168–86. Athens: Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
A river ran through it 143 Tsantila, V. 2012. Η ελληνιστική ανάγλυφη κεραμική από τους νεώσοικους των ακαρνανικών Οινιάδων: Συμβολή στη μελέτη της ελληνιστικής κεραμικής της δυτικής Ελλάδας. PhD thesis, University of Ioannina. Tsantila, V. 2016. Oiniadai, a significant Akarnanian port on the trade route from Asia Minor to Italy. The evidence provided by the relief pottery. In Traditions and Innovations. Tracking the Development of Pottery from the Late Classical to the Early Imperial Periods, eds. S. Japp and P. Koegler, 223–40. Vienna: Phoibos. Tsantila, V. 2018. Οι πήλινοι λύχνοι στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία από την κλασική έως και τη ρωμαϊκή περίοδο. Εισαγωγές, τοπική παραγωγή, επιρροές. Παρατηρήσεις στην τυπολογία και τη χρονολόγησή τους. In To Αρχαιολογικό έργο στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τη Λευκάδα. Πρακτικά 2oυ Διεθνoύς Αρχαιολογικού και Ιστορικού Συνεδρίου, Ι. Π. Μεσολογγίου, 6–8 Δεκεμβρίου 2013, eds. O. Vikatou, V. Staikou and F. Saranti, 209– 31. Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas. Van de Eijnde, F. 2018. Feasting and polis institutions: An introduction. In Feasting and Polis Institutions, eds. F. Van De Eijnde, J. Blok and R. Strootman, 1–27. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Vikatou, O. 2014. The Ionia Road (Part II). Shrines and cemeteries in the area of ancient Alikyrna. Online publication: www.archaeology.wiki/blog/2014/08/25/the- ionia-road-part-ii/ [last accessed July 7, 2020]. Vikatou, O. 2015. The Sanctuary of Apollo at Thermos. A Guide to the Archaeological Museum of Thermos. Translated by L. Makradima and K. Wardle. Messolonghi: Ministry of Culture, Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas. Vikatou, O. 2018. Ανά την Αιτωλοακαρνανία, τη Λευκάδα και το Μεγανήσι. In Το Αρχαιολογικό έργο στην Αιτωλοακαρνανία και τη Λευκάδα. Πρακτικά 2oυ Διεθνoύς Αρχαιολογικού και Ιστορικού Συνεδρίου, Ι. Π. Μεσολογγίου, 6–8 Δεκεμβρίου 2013, eds. O. Vikatou, V. Staikou and F. Saranti, 19–52. Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Aitoloakarnania and Leukas. Voett, A. 2007. Silting up Oiniadai’s harbours (Acheloos River Delta, NW Greece). Geoarchaeological implications of Late Holocene landscape changes., Geomorphology 13.1 Online publication: http://journals.openedition.org/ geomorphologie/645?lang=en. Woodhouse, W. J. 1897. Aetolia. Its Geography, Topography, and Antiquities. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Zapheiropoulou, F., Stavropoulou-Gatsi, M. and Stamatis, G. 2011. Τριχόνειον, Άκραι, Μέταπα: Αιτωλών πόλεις. Athens: Sema. Zarifi, Y. 2007. Chorus and dance in the ancient world. In The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre, eds. M. McDonald and M. Walton, 227– 46. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
7 The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica New evidence for the performance of cult in the historic era Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari
Introduction In his account of the topography of Marathon in Attica, the second-century traveller Pausanias attests to the existence of a remarkable cave with the following words: “A little farther from the plain is a hill and cave of Pan worthy of view. The entrance into it is narrow, but after one passes it there are chambers and wash basins and the herd of Pan, rocks that greatly resemble goats” (1.32.7).1 Situated upon the hill of ancient Oinoe, 2.5 km west of modern Marathon (Figure 7.1), the Cave of Pan was identified and excavated for the first time in spring 1958 by Ioannis Papadimitriou (1904–1963), an archaeologist working for the Archaeological Society at Athens. A preliminary report included a short presentation of selected finds and the first assumptions of the excavator.2 After Papadimitriou’s untimely death, Xeni Arapogianni extensively discussed the archaeological data associated with the first excavation of the cave, particularly the material of the historic times, in her PhD thesis on the caves of Pan in Attica.3 Efforts to preserve the cave were thwarted in the decades that followed the original excavation, as several looters entered the cave and disturbed its deposits. Accordingly, in 2012 the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology embarked on a rescue excavation and an extended period of documentation, beginning with a smaller cave nearby, Oinoe IV, and proceeding to the Cave of Pan itself, Oinoe II, a couple of years later.4 The material under study from the more recent rescue excavations was recovered in the following way. Before the beginning of the Ephorate’s new excavation, an extensive surface survey of the Cave of Pan was conducted in order to collect all the interspersed and chronologically diverse material found lying on top of the deposit in all the chambers as a result of the heavy illicit digging in past years. Excavation proper then ensued in seven trenches. Material of the historic periods was found in thin upper layers mixed with prehistoric finds (Mycenaean, Early Helladic, and Neolithic). Our preliminary study of the materials has now confirmed that the Cave of Pan constitutes an important archaeological monument which was used at least as far back as the second quarter of the seventh millennium B C E .5
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 145
Figure 7.1 Extant caves dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs in Attica. Map: T. Anker.
During the historical era, moreover, the cave served as the location of a thriving cult devoted to Pan and the Nymphs, one of several caves throughout Attica devoted to these divinities. The others are the Cave of Pan on the north slope of the Acropolis; the Cave of Pan beside the modern church of Aghia Photeini near the Ilissos River; the Cave of Pan at ancient Phyle on Mount Parnes; the Cave of the Nymphs on Mount Penteli; the Cave of Pan at Vari, on the south side of Mount Hymettos; the Cave of Pan at Dafni on Mt. Aigaleo; and the Cave of Pan at Eleusis, destroyed in 1955. Additionally, evidence has emerged in recent years for the worship of the Nymphs at the Schisto Cave at Keratsini and for the worship of Pan and the Nymphs at the Lion or Leontari Cave on the north side of Mount Hymettos.6 The present essay offers a preliminary assessment of the finds from the Marathon cave pertaining to its use as a shrine during the historical era. The assemblage includes ceramic fine and coarse wares, ceramic lamps, fragments of glass vessels, jewellery, coins and other small metal finds, as well as various
146 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari terracotta artefacts, predominantly figurines. Although study of the finds is still in progress, when considered in conjunction with the published finds of Papadimitriou’s excavation, they already shed some light on the duration and nature of the cultic activity within the cave. The finds also invite discussion about other divinities that may have been worshipped here, the cult participants and their concerns, and how the worshippers utilized and experienced the different parts and features of the cave.
The cave and its divinities Measuring 970 sq. m., the Cave of Pan at Marathon finds no parallels in Attica as regards its large size. Two entrance passages give access to the cave from a level terrace on the northeast side of the Oinoe hill. The interior comprises a series of five interconnected chambers, corresponding to the “chambers” (οἶκοι) described by Pausanias (Figure 7.2). The cave also stands out for its natural beauty: the bluish-greyish limestone rock within which the cave was formed, stalactites and stalagmites of two different colours (related to their age), many of which indeed resemble the shaggy bodies of goats, as well as rimstone dams and small stone basins, some of which are still full of water, surely corresponding to Pausanias’ “wash basins” (λουτρά). There is little trace of ancient human embellishment within the cave, a condition that may be due to the cave’s natural form and the existence of its many natural niches; several inscriptions, however, were identified in summer 2019 carved upon the walls of Chamber 5. The best preserved of them (see the ground plan in Figure 7.2) already appeared on the first ground plan of the cave drawn by A. Petrocheilou.7 Katja Sporn noted that such lack of embellishment is generally characteristic of cave shrines of the Classical era.8 Outside the Cave of Pan, two carved base cuttings were located on the rock just above the east entrance. Here had obviously been placed some kind of small feature, perhaps an offering (marble relief, statue, stele?) dedicated to the gods worshipped within, an observation that led Papadimitriou to assume that it was this east entrance that gave principal access to the cave in antiquity. Support for this interpretation came from the discovery of a fragmented inscribed marble stele. As he relates in his excavation diary, Papadimitriou found it just inside the east entrance, to the left as one enters, on the top layer of the deposit of the cavity among dumped soil, stones, various sherds, and fragmentary Roman lamps. Dating to 61/60 BCE , the fragmentary text records a sacred law restricting what could be worn inside the cave, making it probable that the stele originally stood at the main entrance. The stele also offers clear epigraphic evidence that the cave was functioning in the historic era as a cult place dedicated to both Pan and the Nymphs.9 Finds from the cave further confirm the worship of Pan and the Nymphs within and define the span of time when the cave was used as a shrine. Although Papadimitriou concluded that the use of the cave in the historical era began only in the fifth century BCE , after the Battle of Marathon, the
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 147
Figure 7.2 The Cave of Pan, Marathon, with natural features and archaeological trenches. Plan: Th. Chatzitheodorou, 2016. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
148 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari pottery and terracotta figurines from his excavation prove that the Marathon cave was functioning as a shrine in the Archaic period, at least by the end of the seventh century BCE . Valavanis catalogues a fragment of a large, proto- Attic closed vessel (K 597) painted in a style which he compares with that of the Nessos Painter and the manner of the Gorgo Painter. Arapogianni, moreover, notes the presence of some Geometric sherds, which, if correctly identified, suggest that the beginning of the cult may indeed fall in the late eighth century B C E .10 Material from the recent excavation is consistent, insofar as it yielded some pottery of the sixth century BCE , although nothing of an earlier date. Since the Archaic terracotta figurines represent females, Arapogianni concluded that the cult began in honour of the Nymphs; the cult of Pan was imported later, sometime after the Battle of Marathon in 490 B C E .11 The story of the introduction of the worship of Pan into Attica is well- known, recounted by the fifth-century historian Herodotus. In the days before the Battle of Marathon, the Athenian runner Pheidippides, who had been sent to Sparta to request aid, encountered the god Pan on Mount Parthenion near Tegea. The god admonished the Athenians for not honouring him despite his goodwill. Sometime after their victory, the Athenians instituted a cult of Pan on the slope of the Acropolis in remembrance of the god’s words (6.105). While the account mentions only his cult at the Acropolis, it is likely that the god’s association with the victory at Marathon explains the spread of his cult to the other cave locations in Attica, including the cave at Marathon itself. The installation of the cult of Pan in caves is an Attic innovation, spreading later to other parts of Greece; in Arcadia the god was worshipped in open-air shrines. It may be that the caves reflected the Athenians’ association of Pan with the mountains of Arcadia, or else his association with herdsmen, who would use caves for shelter while pasturing their flocks on the slopes.12 Apart from the testimony of the inscribed marble stele found by Papadimitriou, evidence for the worship of Pan at Marathon primarily takes the form of terracotta figurines representing the god. Our recent excavation has so far produced only one such representation, a fragmentary mould-made figurine preserving the god’s head and upper torso (Figure 7.3). Although worn and damaged, the figurine is Classical in style. It portrays a bearded male face and telltale horns rising from the top of his head. The front of the figurine is broken away below the nose, but the method of its manufacture, which involved hollowing the interior, and the thickness of the extant clay together suggest that Pan may have been represented playing the pipes. Comparable are two better preserved terracotta figurines of the god recovered by Papadimitriou. Both of them (Με 132 and Με 146) also show the god with a male bearded face and horned head; but while the former depicts Pan holding a set of pipes up to his mouth, the other, more worn and damaged, shows him with his hands down at his belly.13 On stylistic grounds, these figurines too can be dated to the Classical era. The recent rescue excavation has also yielded other new evidence for the worship of Pan, a fragment of a ceramic beehive that bears a graffito on
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 149
Figure 7.3 Fragmentary figurine of Pan, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
its exterior. The writing is thinly incised, but legible are the letters ΤΟΙΠΑ, followed by a trace of Ν at the edge of the break. We may plausibly restore the inscription as a dedication to the god, with his name in the dative case: τῷ Παν[ί. The use of the omicron suggests that the inscription may have been made in the fifth century BC E before the introduction of the omega into the Attic alphabet. The association of Pan with the worship of Nymphs is a persistent feature throughout Attica. Every cave of Pan in Attica was in fact also devoted to these goddesses. Indeed, Greek tradition often portrayed him as leading them in the dance or playing music in accompaniment, and various mythical
150 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari accounts of his parentage make him the son of a Nymph.14 In addition to the inscribed stele, evidence for their worship in the Marathon cave comes from the many offerings found there, especially the terracotta figurines. The assemblage from the Marathon cave includes figurines representing draped female figures, which fall into two broad types, seated on a throne and standing. Already Papadimitriou had recovered a large number of such figurines, and the rescue excavation has produced so far another 24 certain or probable examples. The fragmentary and damaged state of the figurines from the recent excavation makes it clear that most of the intact specimens that originally lay on the surface had already been collected by Papadimitriou. The fact that very few of the specimens preserve both the head and body together is most likely the result of post-depositional breakage at a naturally weak point of the figurine, not a sign of intentional or ritual breakage. The seated females generally sit on an armless, block-like throne with a backrest, which in some instances terminates in projecting finials (see e.g. Figure 7.6). In many examples a small footstool in front supports the figure’s feet. The female wears a diadem on her head (more rarely a polos), and her body is draped in a heavy peplos, which also veils the head. Traces of white and red paint are seen on some fragments, hinting at the original colourful appearance of the figurines. Stylistically, the figurines can be dated only generally, to the late Archaic or Classical period. The type is certainly widespread in Greece and indeed common elsewhere in Attica in the context of sanctuaries of various female divinities, including the caves at Mount Parnes and Eleusis, where the Nymphs were worshipped together with Pan, too. The identity of the seated figurines has become a subject of recent scholarly debate.15 Scholars have commonly argued that the seated females represent goddesses, as the frontal pose, headdress, and throne suggest an elevated status that would befit the recipient of an offering from a human devotee. Since the type is generic, lacking any defining attributes to indicate a particular goddess, the figurine would take on the identity of the goddess in the context where it was dedicated. Hence, in the Marathon cave, the figurines would represent the Nymphs. A few scholars, on the contrary, have argued more recently that the figurines should be regarded as mortal women. If their view is followed, then the seated figurine may represent the matron of a household and thus express the dedicant’s identity as a married Athenian woman. The standing female figurines, by contrast, frequently hold an offering in one or both hands, at least to judge from the more complete examples recovered by Papadimitriou. Most of them date to the fifth century B C E , but some examples of earlier (Archaic) and later (Late Classical to Hellenistic) date were also found. The two fragmentary examples from the recent excavation unfortunately preserve only the lower half of each figure. The style of the drapery suggests that both are of Classical date. Following recent general discussions on the identity of terracotta figurines, these figurines are more likely to represent female adorants, bringing gifts to the goddesses, rather
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 151 than the goddesses themselves.16 Another type of terracotta artefact found in the Cave of Pan is the female protome, a mask-like representation of a female face. Four fragments of protomes have been identified to date among the finds of the recent excavation. Another two examples were found by Papadimitriou. The offering of a protome is a widespread phenomenon in the sanctuaries of female divinities, but scholarly opinion is divided whether these represent the goddess worshipped or the human adorant.17 Although there is clear evidence for the worship of Pan and the Nymphs in the Marathon cave, some other finds raise the possibility that other divinities may have received worship too or at least were conceived as their natural associates. Already Papadimitriou had excavated evidence for the worship of the goddess Kybele, in the form of two terracotta figurines showing the goddess seated with a recumbent lion in her lap. Another deity who may be associated with the Cave of Pan is the goddess Artemis. Like the Nymphs, she is associated with the same human concerns of marriage and the rearing of children, and she is often portrayed as accompanied by the Nymphs in the countryside. As a goddess of the countryside and a hunter, she also finds association with Pan. Hence an association between Artemis and the worship of Pan and the Nymphs is not wholly unexpected.18 One distinctive find that points in this direction is the votive krateriskos, a miniature vessel type that is frequently found in Attic sanctuaries of Artemis. Papadimitriou’s excavation yielded a few fragmentary examples of late Archaic or early Classical date, and krateriskoi have been found in other Attic caves devoted to Pan and the Nymphs. The presence of krateriskoi in the Marathon cave does not in itself prove the worship of Artemis, however, as these vessels may have been considered suitable offerings to the Nymphs themselves, who shared similar concerns (marriage) as Artemis. As additional evidence for the worship of Artemis, Arapogianni published a figurine which can be reasonably identified as the goddess from the attributes: the standing female figure holds a small deer and a bow in her hands.19 The recent excavation has yielded further epigraphic evidence. Among the large quantity of pottery recovered from the cave is the fragmentary rim of a small cup, probably a kantharos, with a graffito preserved on the outer surface (Figure 7.4). Four letters are legible: ΑΡΤΕ, filling the entire width of the preserved rim fragment. It is possible to read in these letters part of a dedication to Artemis, ΑΡΤΕ[ΜΙΔΙ], but of course other readings are also possible, such as the personal name of a dedicant (e.g. “Artemidora”). We hope that joining fragments of the rim may one day be found. The recent excavation brought to light another type of mould-made terracotta figurine, without parallel among the previously published material: the fragment of a small terracotta herm (Figure 7.5). Preserved is the upper part of the herm with the bearded head of the god Hermes attached to the top of a rectangular pillar, from the sides of which protrude two rectangular shoulder stubs. On stylistic grounds it can be dated only generally to the Classical period. The figurine represents a miniature form of the larger stone herms,
152 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari
Figure 7.4 Kantharos rim fragment with graffito, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
which were set up throughout Attica beginning in the sixth century B C E , and which, according to Thucydides, were an Athenian invention (6.27.2).20 The presence of a representation of the god Hermes is not without parallel among the caves of Pan in Attica; two similar herm figurines were found at the cave on Mount Penteli.21 In addition, many Attic marble votive reliefs dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs feature the god Hermes as well, and the Greek mythological tradition offers ample evidence for the association of Hermes with Pan and the Nymphs. Hermes is the son of the Nymph Maia, and his association with the goddesses finds expression in his epithet Nymphagetes, leader of Nymphs. Hermes himself is also the father of Pan, as the opening line of the Homeric Hymn to Pan proclaims. Also relevant is that the association of Pan and the Nymphs with the boundaries between human communities and the natural world, an idea reflected as well in the use of isolated caves as their places of worship, aligns with the role of Hermes as a god of boundaries and transitions. Furthermore, Carolyn Laferrière has argued that the association of this god with Pan and the Nymphs had a special significance in Attica, serving as a way to bolster the acceptance of Pan into the city’s pantheon and simultaneously to fold the cult of the Nymphs into the civic religion of the city.22
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 153
Figure 7.5 Fragmentary herm figurine, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
Worshippers at the Cave of Pan Turning our attention to the worshippers who visited the cave at Marathon, we can begin with the general observation that the worship of the Nymphs in Attica, as indeed throughout Greece, was generally a female concern, focused on marriage and childbirth.23 The evidence for the participation of women in the cult at Marathon is not limited to the many figurines of standing female votaries, noted above. It also includes some fragmentary figurines, found by Papadimitriou, representing infants and children as well as dolls.24 As Arapogianni comments, the preponderance of figurines found not just at
154 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari Marathon but at all the caves of Pan in Attica seem to be devoted to the Nymphs as protectors of marriage and the rearing of children.25 Pottery too furnishes evidence for the participation of women in the cult, for among the various Classical pottery shapes are a few that are distinctly associated with marriage, such as the loutrophoros and the lebes gamikos, and other shapes more generally associated with the woman’s domestic sphere, shapes such as the pyxis and the unguentarium. In the case of figured pottery, moreover, many scenes illustrate themes of desire, beauty, and children. On occasion, worshippers dedicated items of personal jewellery. The most conspicuous find of this type is without question a pair of gold earrings found by Papadimitriou.26 The finds from the recent excavations are more modest and include four examples of glass paste beads, of which three are typical “eye” beads, featuring circular areas spaced around the bead and filled with concentric bands of alternating colour. A fourth bead, pale blue in colour, features pumpkin-like ribbing. Both kinds of beads are generally datable to the late Archaic and Classical periods.27 Among the few metal finds, a small, tubular piece of bronze may constitute another kind of bead, and small grits of bronze on its outer surface may represent original decoration. A curved segment of a bronze pin or rod, broken at both ends, may represent the remains of a fibula, and another bronze fragment with a tapered point may represent a dress pin or needle. The excavations also turned up a small iron ring, perhaps a finger ring. The offering of jewellery finds parallels at several other Attic caves devoted to Pan and the Nymphs. Indeed, they more generally constitute a common class of offerings in sanctuaries where female divinities are worshipped.28 Finds related to the working of wool and weaving likewise may constitute offerings that in part reflect the concerns of women. Our recent excavations have recovered two terracotta loom weights of pyramidal shape. One of them, excavated in Chamber 3, bears a lentoid stamped impression below its single suspension hole. The other, found by chance on the surface of Papadimitriou’s spoil heap outside the cave, is smaller and has two suspension holes as well as traces of glaze on its sides. From the surface of Chamber 5 comes a fine spindle whorl of Classical shape: a broad convex base with a tapering, concave wall rising to a narrow, tubular tip. Its black glaze decoration includes concentric bands and rows of dots in alternation. A second spindle whorl, excavated in Chamber 3, is similar in shape but decorated only with plain glaze overall. At the same time that such domestic implements may reflect the domestic concerns of female worshippers, they may also serve to express a closeness to the Nymphs, whom they could imagine as performing such activities within the cave as their home. Already in Homer’s Odyssey we find Calypso singing within her cave as she weaves at her loom (5.61–2). So too, the cave of the Nymphs on Ithaca possesses “long looms of stone” where the Nymphs would weave their purple garments (13.107–8). The worship of Pan and the Nymphs was not restricted to women, to be sure, neither in the Marathon cave nor in Attica generally. Menander’s
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 155 Dyskolos, written in the fourth century B C E , offers us one image of men and women worshipping together at the Cave of Pan at Phyle on Mount Parnes. So too, the numerous Attic marble votive reliefs dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs depict male worshippers in the presence of these gods, and their inscriptions frequently record the names of male dedicants. The ancient sources make clear that Pan had a particular affinity with men of humble professions: herdsmen, hunters, craftsmen, fishermen, and farmers. Some confirmation of this is found in the epigraphic evidence of votive inscriptions from other Attic Pan caves; the dedicants identify themselves as shepherds, for instance, or a goatherd. In regard to the Marathon cave specifically, while the pair of gold earrings found by Papadimitriou suggests an offering by an individual of some wealth and status, the vast preponderance of the finds, in contrast, is of a modest nature, largely obscuring the social and economic status of the individual dedicant. A few finds, nevertheless, do seem to relate directly to the humble professions our sources associate with Pan’s worshippers. In particular, our recent excavation has produced several fragments of ceramic beehives, including a beehive lid, for example, in addition to the inscribed wall fragment discussed above. A small bronze fragment from the excavation may also be a fishhook, perhaps the offering of a local fisherman.29 Also relevant to the question of who participated in the cult in the Marathon cave is the fragmentary marble stele found by Papadimitriou near the cave’s east entrance. Its inscription informs us that it was dedicated by three fellow ephebes, Pythagoras, Sosikrates, and Lysander, in the archonship of Theophemos, corresponding to 60/61 BCE. The rest of the inscription records sacred laws pertaining to the cave, beginning with a proscription against wearing certain types of coloured garments.30 The interest of these three ephebes in the Marathon cave is generally consistent with the nature of ephebic training, which entailed travel around the borders of Attica and the performance of religious duties at various Attic shrines. To the extent that the memory of the Battle of Marathon was also a part of ephebic education, Pan’s role in the victory may have enhanced their interest in the shrine. As Petrakos comments, the stele thus implies that the Cave of Pan was incorporated in some way into the system of Athenian cults and elevated in status to some degree above other rural shrines.31 On the other hand, the fact that the dedication was made by only three ephebes rather than the entire class suggests that there may have been a more personal connection. Perhaps these ephebes were local residents?
Ritual activity within the cave Turning to the question of how the Cave of Pan was used, the finds permit several preliminary observations in addition to raising questions about how the worshipping community interacted with this sacred space. Clearly one important aspect of the ritual practice was to leave objects behind as votive offerings to the gods. The presence of the terracotta figurines and protomes,
156 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari discussed above, can be explained in this way, as can the items of jewellery, the loom weights, the spindle whorls, and the other small metal items. The many ceramic lamps found in the cave should also be reckoned votive offerings, intentionally left behind as gifts to the gods after being used to provide light for the worshippers. To date, 40 examples of lamp fragments have been catalogued, and many smaller fragments remain to be examined. These finds roughly double the number of lamps published by Arapogianni and with them yield a fairly continuous sequence of lamps ranging from Archaic and Classical types to Roman lamps of the sixth century C E . Where the nozzle is preserved, all the examples from the rescue excavation show traces of burning, attesting that the lamps had been used prior to their dedication. The possibility should not be excluded, however, that some unused lamps may have been brought into the cave strictly as offerings; lamps that lack evidence of burning at the nozzle have been reported from other Attic cave shrines.32 Our recent excavation also brought to light nine bronze coins, all heavily patinated and corroded.33 Further analysis is needed to improve their legibility, but it seems that they mostly date to the Roman Imperial period. Whether the coins were dropped accidentally within the cave or deposited intentionally as votive offerings is difficult to say. Certainly, coins constitute a form of offering in other Greek sanctuaries. Among cave shrines, the Corycian cave offers a good example; but in such cases the quantity of coins is much larger.34 One might expect a greater number of coins from a wider chronological range in the Marathon cave if indeed there was a practice of offering them to the divinities worshipped within. It would be interesting to know more about how the worshippers conceived the space within the cave, and what guided their choices about where to place the objects they were offering to the gods. For this purpose, it is tempting to look for a pattern in the distribution of the finds recovered within the cave’s various chambers. Such a method is problematic, however, because Papadimitriou’s recovery of artefacts surely affects the distribution of the surface finds from our more recent excavation, and yet we lack information about the findspots of the artefacts he recovered. Even apart from Papadimitriou’s work, the taphonomic processes that created the stratigraphic record need to be examined further before any definite conclusions can be reached. Nevertheless, one notable pattern does emerge as to the distribution of the figurines and protomes. Although a few of them were recovered in trenches excavated in other chambers of the cave, some 80% of them were found within Chamber 5 as a result of surface collection and excavation. Interestingly, Papadimitriou reported that he found the figurines of Pan and the Nymphs, as well as the gold earrings, in a small test trench in the “fifth chamber back,” which seems to be this same chamber.35 If this pattern does reflect an actual preference in the ancient dedicatory practice, then we might attribute this to the special association with the deepest part of the cave, noted in our ancient sources. We can compare, for instance, Athena’s instruction to Odysseus when he returns to Ithaca, to leave his precious gifts in the “innermost recess” of the cave of the Nymphs (Od. 13.363–4).
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 157
Figure 7.6 Fragmentary figurine of a seated female, from the Cave of Pan, Marathon. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Archive of the Excavation at Marathon, Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
One surface find which seems to have escaped Papadimitriou’s attention is suggestive in regard to the placement of offerings in Chamber 5. In a niche formed to the northwest of the point designated R37 in Chamber 5, we discovered a figurine of an enthroned female placed on its back (Figure 7.6; see also ground plan, Figure 7.2).36 The figurine, worn and headless, has a
158 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari preserved height of 6.6 cm and is of the same type as the many other seated female figurines dated to the fifth century BCE . Unfortunately, the context of the find does not permit us to know when the figurine was placed in this spot. It seems improbable that it sustained its wear and damage in the place where it was found; it is therefore possible that the figurine was originally dedicated elsewhere in the cave and only placed here at some later date. Also pointing to the special significance of Chamber 5 is the intriguing discovery of a small opening located at the rear of the chamber, specifically on its natural, sloping, southwest, limestone wall, at a height of 90 cm above the cave floor, to the east/northeast of R41 (see ground plan, Figure 7.2). The opening, which measures 45.0 x 20.5 cm, leads to a small cavity, suitable only for rodents, with an internal length of 92 cm and width of almost 53 cm. When first discovered, it contained ceramic items, including miniature vases. The removal of its muddy deposit during spring 2017 revealed the true range of its contents, however. In addition to fragments of several miniature vases, including jugs and cups, numerous other sherds of glazed and unglazed wares were found, ranging in date from the Classical to the Late Roman periods. A few lamp fragments were also found, two of Roman date, as well as six fragments of Roman glass. Other small finds included a glass paste “eye” bead, a fragment of bronze chain link, another small bronze decorative piece, and a fragment of yet another Classical terracotta seated figurine. While all these finds can be attributed to the use of the chamber as a shrine, the deposit also contained some residual material from the prehistoric use of the cave, such as prehistoric ceramics, part of an obsidian blade, and scattered human bones. Because of the mixed and fragmentary nature of the deposit, it seems less likely that the crevice was used for the dedication of individual offerings. It is also plausible that at one or more times in antiquity materials from within the cave (with classical and prehistoric finds) was for some reason discarded within the cavity. As for other ritual activities that may have taken place within the Cave of Pan, we can again compare the testimony of Menander’s Dyskolos. Menander describes a family’s visit to the Cave of Pan at Phyle on Mount Parnes, where a ritual celebration ensues that lasts all day and night and includes the sacrifice of a goat or sheep as well as bloodless food offerings, followed by a symposium, music and dancing.37 This picture compares well with the visual evidence of the aforementioned Attic marble votive reliefs dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs, which similarly attest to various rituals performed in or at the entrance of a sacred cave. The human worshippers are often depicted leading sacrificial animals toward the gods or pouring libations in their presence, and in some instances a small altar is depicted. While it is reasonable to assume that such practices took place at the Cave of Pan at Marathon as well, archaeological evidence is silent so far on sacrificial practice. Nothing resembling an altar has been found either inside the cave or on the small plateau in front of it (which is covered now by the deposit excavated and dumped outside the cave by Papadimitriou), and we await faunal analysis of the bones excavated
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 159 that may yield evidence of burnt animal sacrifice. It should also be noted that no intact classical deposit was left in situ in the two front chambers of the cave, and while thin strata of burnt soil were found covering all the trenches of Chambers 3 and 5, we do not yet have any radiocarbon dating for them. The ceramic assemblage from the cave does provide ample evidence for rituals of libation, drinking, and feasting, however, in addition to many other classes of pottery, ranging from the finely painted lebes gamikos to the coarse beehive, that may have been brought to the cave solely as dedications. Although Arapogianni describes and catalogues a range of black-and red- figure pottery, as well as some Hellenistic mould-made bowls, all found by Papadimitriou, our recent excavation makes clear that the ceramic assemblage in the cave is much more extensive. The figured wares represent only a minority of the pottery, which includes coarse and plain wares as well, and the chronological range of the pottery clearly extends into the Roman era, with the latest pottery datable to the sixth century CE . Thus, the ceramic picture accords more closely with the picture of activity implied by the lamps.38 Also relevant to the picture of ritual activity is the evidence of Roman glass vessels, represented by several fragments found throughout the cave, in addition to the fragments found in the crevice deposit in Chamber 5, described above. Closer study of the ceramics is needed to clarify how the vessel shapes found within the cave change over the centuries, and what that might indicate about the changing activities conducted there. Music and dancing likely formed another component of the ritual activity that took place in the Marathon cave, to judge from the Dyskolos and the many votive images from other Attic caves showing Pan playing his pipes for dancing Nymphs. The evidence is slight from Marathon, however, limited to the few figurines showing Pan playing the syrinx. As Nektarios Yioutsos has emphasized, the sounds of music and dance surely compounded the other- worldly and intensified sensory experience of worshippers in a setting like the Marathon cave. In his view, the aural qualities of the cave would not have gone unnoticed, and the special effects could have contributed to a belief in the presence of the divine.39 Other natural qualities of the Cave of Pan, particularly its pervasive darkness, would have further contributed to the worshippers’ experience. Scholars have explored how the natural properties of cave sanctuaries could elicit specific psychological and mental responses from those who entered them. Awe, distress, fear, and terror can be the first unenviable emotions to emerge, prompted by the darkness which in human perception is linked with danger. Disorientation due to the lack of visual guides, the loss of a sense of time, and restricted visual and hearing perception might easily occur as well. Claustrophobia, loss of consciousness, or even hallucinations could result from getting into these silent, underground damp spaces, which due to absolute lack of light are often restored in the human mind as places concealed by a veil of mystery and secrecy.40 Such effects help to explain why the ancient Greeks regarded many other caves as entrances to the Underworld, a point
160 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari of contact between the world of the living and the world of the dead.41 By a similar line of reasoning, we can see the caves where Pan and the Nymphs were worshipped as points of contact between the world of humans and the world of the divine. With these considerations in mind, the many terracotta lamps from the Cave of Pan, in their functional capacity to cast light into the darkness of the cave, take on new meaning. A familiar and utilitarian element of the domestic interior, the humble spouted lamp becomes an important, and also active, part of the worshipper’s experience of the sacred within the cave. Not only does the lamp provide the necessary light for the performance of ritual, but its circumscribed power also creates an ever-changing world of shadows as the worshipper moves about. The lamp’s light would modulate in the presence of reflected light, so that the sensation of light would be different in the middle of the cave’s wide chambers than near its walls and other stone features.42 In this shifting illumination, the visual experience of the cave could seem uncanny and otherworldly, and worshippers might imagine the cave’s fixed features to be in motion and alive.43 Recall the description of the Marathon cave’s stalactites as Pan’s herd of goats, according to Pausanias. Like the role played by music and dancing, then, the terracotta lamps, by creating an interplay between light and dark, would have enhanced the experience of the cave as a transitional space between the world of mortals and the divine beings such as Pan and the Nymphs.44
Conclusions Study of the finds from the recent rescue excavation at the Cave of Pan at Marathon continues, but the picture that is emerging complements many of the findings of the earlier excavation of Papadimitriou and shows that the cave supported a long-lasting cult of Pan and the Nymphs. Beginning as a shrine of the Nymphs in the Archaic period, the cave receives the cult of Pan in the wake of the Persian Wars, and other divinities receive at least sporadic worship as their associates, including Kybele, Artemis, and Hermes. The diverse artefacts of the historical era found in the Cave of Pan extend into the sixth century C E . Most of the artefacts found are of humble manufacture, reflecting a cult that was primarily attended by male and female worshippers of modest means. Their concerns were diverse, but the figurines and most other small finds point to the presence of worshippers who felt an affinity to the Nymphs in particular and appealed to them in matters of marriage, birth, and the rearing of children. So too do we have evidence, such as the fragment of a beehive seemingly inscribed as a dedication to Pan, that worshippers came and appealed to the god to protect their professional pursuits. Despite the proximity of the Marathon cave to the site of the famous victory for which the cult of Pan became popular in Athens, the finds are largely silent on acknowledging the god’s role in that battle, but the marble stele dedicated
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 161 by three ephebes hints that such an association may have been part of oral tradition about the cave. In addition to the evidence for votive offerings made throughout the cave, with a possible special reverence for its innermost part, the ceramic assemblage makes clear that ritual drinking and feasting also played an important part in the worshippers’ experience, which must have felt special and other-worldly in the dimly lit and echoing spaces of the Cave of Pan.
Notes 1 Translation by J. Bravo. The original Greek reads: ὀλίγον δὲ ἀπωτέρω τοῦ πεδίου Πανός ἐστιν ὄρος καὶ σπήλαιον θέας ἄξιον: ἔσοδος μὲν ἐς αὐτὸ στενή, παρελθοῦσι δέ εἰσιν οἶκοι καὶ λουτρὰ καὶ καλούμενον Πανὸς αἰπόλιον, πέτραι τὰ πολλὰ αἰξὶν εἰκασμέναι (1903, Teubner edition, accessed at www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper). 2 Papadimitriou 1959. See also Daux 1959. 3 Arapogianni 2000. Brief assessments of the cave and its finds have been published in Wickens 1986, Vol. II, 223–33; Petrakos 1987, 305–6, with n. 30; and Petrakos 1996, 85–90. Valavanis 2001 publishes in greater detail a few of the most substantial and finest pieces of figured pottery from the excavation. It is important to note that Arapogianni’s study, while the most extensive of the Cave of Pan to date, is nevertheless selective, being principally focused on the figured fine wares, some metal jewellery, and terracotta figurines and lamps. In regard to these finds, the present study is greatly indebted to Arapogianni for her detailed analysis. There remain some forty crates of unsorted material from Papadimitriou’s excavation in the storerooms of the Marathon Archaeological Museum. A thorough study of that material is desirable and would offer a more complete body of evidence for understanding the functioning of the Cave of Pan. 4 The Hellenic Speleological Society, a private union, first located and described four caves on and in the vicinity of the hill of Oinoe in the 1950s and designated them Oinoe I–IV. The same names were hence used by J. Wickens in his PhD thesis (1986) and by A. Mari during the rescue excavation conducted in Oinoe IV and Oinoe II (Cave of Pan), on the eastern/northeastern side of the homonymous lift. For a general description of Oinoe IV, mistakenly identified as the Cave of Pan before Papadimitriou’s investigation, see Wickens 1986, Vol. II, 223–33. For a preliminary report on the rescue excavation work in this cave, see now Mari 2018. The Institute for Aegean Prehistory played a decisive role by providing financial support to the whole venture. A debt of gratitude is also owed to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the American Philosophical Society, and the College of Arts and Humanities of the University of Maryland for providing fellowship grants to J. Bravo to support the study of the material of the historical periods from the rescue excavations in both Oinoe IV and the Cave of Pan. 5 Facorellis et al. 2017; Mari et al. 2019. 6 For surveys of the cave sites, see especially Wickens 1986 and Arapogianni 2000, with earlier bibliography. More recent studies include Kavvadias and Yiannikapani 2004, 19–20 (Acropolis); Platonos-Yiota 2004, 397–405 (Phyle); Schörner and Goette 2004 (Vari); Spathi 2013 and Zampiti 2013 (Schisto Cave); Peppa-Papaioannou 2013 (Lion/Leontari Cave); and Mari et al. 2019 (Vari).
162 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari 7 Petrocheilos 1958; see also Wickens 1986, Vol. II, 230. The inscriptions of the walls of the cave are currently being studied by N. Papazarkadas. 8 Sporn 2013, 205. 9 Papadimitriou 1959, 15; Daux 1959, 587; Wickens 1986, Vol. II, 230. The inscription will be discussed at greater length below. 10 Papadimitriou 1959, 21–2; Valavanis 2001, 53–4; Arapogianni 2000, 47–8. 11 Arapogianni 2000, 47, 60, 204–5. 12 Borgeaud 1979, 73; Larson 2001, 97–8; Yioutsos 2014, 58–9; Yioutsos 2019, 113– 4. For the political value of importing the cult of the Arcadian god into Athens, see Mastrapas 2013, 118–20. 13 Arapogianni 2000, 55, 327–8, figs. 109, 113. See also pp. 8–13 and 211–4, on the changing iconography of Pan. 14 Arapogianni 2000, 6–8; Larson 2001, 96–8. 15 See Huysecom-Haxhi and Muller 2007 and 2015; Muller 2017–18, 161. 16 Muller 2017–18, 161. 17 See Huysecom-Haxhi and Muller 2007, 242–3, for a discussion of the divergent views. 18 See Arapogianni 2000, 8, 57, 60, 209, 226–7, 329, 332 (Kybele); 7, 758 n. 281 (Artemis). Cf. Larson 2001, 107–10, who argues that the connection between Artemis and the Nymphs is limited in the ancient sources and appears scarce in the context of cult. 19 Arapogianni 2000, 7, 49, 58, 201–2, 227, 758 n. 281. Note that several fragments of krateriskoi have also been found at the Schisto Cave: Zampiti 2013. 20 Compare also the testimony of Herodotus (2.51.1). On herms generally see Rückert 1998. 21 Zoridis 1977, 7, 9, pl. Zd; Arapogianni 2000, 487 (Πεε 23299, Πεε 23289). More recently, herm figurines have been reportedly found in the Lion (Leontari) Cave on Mount Hymettos: Peppa-Papaioannou 2013. 22 For a comprehensive study of the stone votive reliefs, see Edwards 1985. On Hermes, see Laferrière 2019, especially 35–7 and 43, where she also describes how the figure of the herm plays a role in the iconography that links Pan with Hermes. 23 Larson 2001, 300–20. 24 For the significance of dolls in the cult of the Nymphs, see Larson 2001, 101–7, 117–20. 25 Arapogianni 2000, 58–60, 211, 214. 26 Papadimitriou 1959, 21, fig. 21. 27 Compare, for example, beads from Sardis: von Saldern 1980, 106, nos. 822–4, 839, and 940. 28 See also the Schisto Cave, where a plain golden finger ring and various jewellery were discovered: Spathi 2013, 403. 29 Arapogianni 2000, 4 and 221–3. See also Wickens 1986, Vol. I, 193–6, and Wickens 2013 for a discussion of the association of beehives with caves and the occasional finding of fragments of beehives in caves. 30 For discussion of the stele and its inscription (= SEG XXXVI 267), see Petrakos 1987, 305–6, with n. 30; Petrakos 1993, 69–70; Petrakos 1996, 88–90; Lupu 2001; Lupu 2005, 171–5. For a discussion of this text and others pertaining to the regulation of clothing in sanctuaries, see Brøns 2017, Chapter 11. 31 Petrakos 1993, 69. See also Lupu 2001, 121–2; Lupu 2005, 173.
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 163 32 On the lamps from Papadimitriou’s excavation, see Arapogianni 2000, 52–4, 319– 25. One fragmentary lamp of the late third century B CE , Μλ 51 (p. 321 and fig. 77), preserves part of a graffito reading ΙΕΡΟϹ, seeming to signal the lamp’s status as a dedication. On the possibility of the dedication of unused lamps, see Arapogianni 2000, 206, with n. 1003. 33 Wickens 1986, Vol. II, 229, states that there are two bronze coins from the cave in the National Archaeological Museum, one of them dating to the reign of Justin or Justinian. Some coins, mostly of Roman imperial date, were found in the caves at Parnes and Vari: Arapogianni 2000, 216. 34 For a discussion of coins as votive offerings in shrines, see Knapp and MacIsaac 2005, 34–5. 35 Papadimitriou 1959, 21. 36 The points upon the plan noted with an R and a number correspond to the reference marks (repères) used by the rural engineers for the surveying of the cave. 37 For a summary of the key details, see Arapogianni 2000, 198; Yioutsos 2014, 59; Yioutsos 2019, 118. 38 Radiocarbon dating of a charcoal sample also attests to use of the cave in the sixth century C E : Facorellis et al. 2017, 1478 table 1, and 1482. 39 Yioutsos 2014, 61–2; Yioutsos 2019, 123. 40 In addition to Yioutsos 2014 and 2019, see Wickens 1986, Vol. I, 172–5; Ustinova 2009, 32–41; Montello and Moyes 2012; Moyes 2012; Mari et al. 2013, 176–7; Dowd and Hensey 2016; Büster et al. 2019. On the phenomenon of nympholepsy or panolepsy as an altered state of consciousness, see Yioutsos 2014, 60, with n. 18; Yioutsos 2019, 119. 41 Zografou 2017. 42 See Moullou and Topalis 2017 for an experimental analysis of the light provided by a spouted lamp and its value as a light source in an interior setting. 43 Yioutsos 2014, 59–60; Yioutsos 2019, 118–9. See also Ingold 2019 on the role of shadows. 44 Compare also Zografou 2017 on the intermingling of light and darkness as creating a sense of transitional space between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Bibliography Arapogianni, X. 2000. Τα σπήλαια του Πανός στην Αττική. PhD thesis, University of Thessaloniki. Borgeaud, P. 1979. Recherches sur le dieu Pan. Biblioteca Helvetica Romana XVII. Rome: Institut Suisse de Rome. Borgeaud, P. 1988. The Cult of Pan in Ancient Greece. Translated by K. Atlass and J. Redfield. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Brøns, C. 2017. Gods and Garments: Textiles in Greek Sanctuaries in the 7th-1st Centuries BC. Ancient Textiles Series 28. Oxford/Philadelphia: Oxbow Books. Büster, L., Warmenbol, E. and Mlekuž D., eds. 2019. Between Worlds. Understanding Ritual Cave Use in Later Prehistory. Cham: Springer. Daux, G. 1959. Chronique de fouilles en 1958, Marathon, grotte de Pan. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 83, 587–90. Dowd, M. and R. Hensey, eds. 2016. The Archaeology of Darkness. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
164 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari Edwards, C. M. 1985. Greek Votive Reliefs to Pan and the Nymphs. PhD thesis, Ann Arbor, MI: New York University, University Microfilms. Facorellis, Y., Mari, A. and Oberlin, C. 2017. The Cave of Pan, Marathon, Greece: AMS dating of the Neolithic phase and calculation of the regional marine reservoir effect. Radiocarbon 59(5), 1475–85. Huysecom-Haxhi, S. and Muller, A. 2007. Déesses et/ou mortelles dans la plastique de terre cuite: Réponses actuelles à une question ancienne. Pallas 75, 231–47. Huysecom-Haxhi, S. and Muller, A. 2015. Figurines en contexte, de l’identification à la fonction: Vers une archéologie de la religion. In Figurines grecques en contexte: Présence muette dans le sanctuaire, la tombe et la maison, eds. S. Huysecom-Haxhi and A. Muller, 421–38. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Ingold, T. 2019. Commentary I: On light. In The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology, eds. C. Papadopoulos and H. Moyes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kavvadias, G. and Yiannikapani, E., eds. 2004. Βόρεια, ανατολική και δυτική κλιτύς Ακροπόλεως. Σύντομο ιστορικό και περιήγηση. Athens: Friends of Acropolis Society. Knapp, R. C. and MacIsaac, J. D. 2005. Excavations at Nemea III. The Coins. Berkeley/ Los Angeles: University of California Press. Laferrière, C. M. 2019. Hermes among Pan and the Nymphs on fourth-century votive reliefs. In Tracking Hermes, Pursuing Mercury, eds. J. F. Miller and J. Strauss-Clay, 31–48. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. Larson, J. 2001. Greek Nymphs: Myth, Cult, Lore. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. Lupu, E. 2001. The sacred law from the Cave of Pan at Marathon (SEG XXXVI 267). Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 137, 119–24. Lupu, E. 2005. Greek Sacred Law. A Collection of New Documents (NGSL). Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 152. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Mari, A. 2018. The Later Neolithic use of the cave Oinoe IV at Marathon (Attica, Greece): Preliminary report. In Communities in Transition: The Circum-Aegean Area during the 5th and 4th Millennia BC, eds. S. Dietz, F. Mavridis, Ž. Tankosić and T. Takaoğlu, 283–8. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Mari, A., Giannopoulos, V. and Filippatou, P. 2013. Σπήλαια αρχαιολογικού ενδιαφέροντος στο Όρος Μερέντα Αττικής. In ΙΔ’ Επιστημονική Συνάντηση ΝΑ. Αττικής, Καλύβια Θορικού Αττικής, 6–9 Οκτωβρίου 2011, ed. A. D. Stefanis, 169–82. Kalyvia, Attiki: Etaireia Meleton Notioanatolikis Attikis. Mari, A., Andritsanos, V. D., Chatzitheodorou, T. and Chatzitheodorou, G. 2019. The cave of the Nympholept at Vari. Fast creation of a 3D simulation model of an important cult cave in Attica, Greece. In Spreading Excellence in Computer Applications for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Greek Chapter (CAA-GR) Limassol, Cyprus 18–20 June 2018, eds. P. Kyriakidis, A. Agapiou and V. Lysandrou, 67–76. Limassol, Cyprus: University of Technology. Mari, A. and Facorellis, Y. 2019. 56 χρόνια μετά: Η πρόσφατη ανασκαφή του Σπηλαίου Πανός Μαραθώνα και η χρονολόγηση των ανθρωπογενών επιχώσεών του. In Archaeology and Archaeometry: 30 Years Later. 7th Symposium on Archaeometry of the Hellenic Society for Archaeometry, Athens, Byzantine and Christian Museum, 9– 12 October 2019, Book of Abstracts, eds. A. Oikonomou, M. Papageorgiou and M. Kaparou, 23–4. Athens: Byzantine and Christian Museum/NCSR “Demokritos.” Mastrapas, A. 2013. The Battle of Marathon and the introduction of Pan’s worship to Athens: The political dimension of a legend through written evidence and
The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica 165 archaeological finds. In Marathon –2,500 Years. Proceedings of the Marathon Conference 2010, eds. C. Carey and M. Edwards, 111–22. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplement 124. London: Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. Montello, D. R. and Moyes, H. 2012. Why dark zones are sacred. Turning to behavioral and cognitive science for answers. In Sacred Darkness. A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves, ed. H. Moyes, 385–96. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. Moullou, D. and Topalis, F. V. 2017. Reconstructing artificial light in ancient Greece. In The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology, eds. C. Papadopoulos and H. Moyes. Oxford Handbooks Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Moyes, H., ed. 2012. Sacred Darkness. A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves. Boulder, BO: University Press of Colorado. Muller, A. 2017–18. Coroplastic studies: What’s new? Archaeological Reports 64, 153–69. Papadimitriou, I. 1959. Μαραθών. Σπήλαιον Πανός. Ergon 1958, 15–22. Peppa-Papaioannou, E. 2013. ‘Leontari’ on Mt. Hymettus. The cult in the cave according to coroplastic votive offerings during the historical periods. In Programme and Abstracts, Ninth Archaeological Symposium, Fieldwork and Research, IX: The Work of the Department of Archaeology and History of Art, Athens, April 5 and 6, 2013, eds. M. Constantoudaki-Kitromilides and E. Mavromichali (with assistance of V. P. Klotsa), 74–5. Athens: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of History and Archaeology, Department of Archaeology and History of Art. Petrakos, V. 1987. To Νεμέσιον του Ραμνούντος. In Φίλια Έπη εις Γεώργιον Ε. Μυλωνάν διά τα εξήντα έτη του ανασκαφικού του έργου, Vol. B, 295– 326. Athens: The Archaeological Society at Athens. Petrakos, V. 1993. Η αλεπού ήταν αρχαιοκάπηλος (Το σπήλαιο του Πανός στον Μαραθώνα). O Mentor 25, 67–70. Petrakos, V. 1996. Marathon. Translated by A. Doumas. Vivliotheke tes en Athenais Archaiologikes Hetaireias 155. Athens: The Archaeological Society at Athens. Petrocheilos, I. 1958. Σπήλαιον Οινόης Β΄ (αρ. E.Σ.E. 903). Bulletin de la société spéléologique de Grèce ΙV(7), 99–105. Platonos-Yiota, M. 2004. Αχαρναί. Ιστορική και τοπογραφική επισκόπηση των αρχαίων Αχαρνών και των οχυρώσεων της Πάρνηθας. Acharnai: Municipality of Acharnes. Rückert, B. 1998. Die Herme in öffentlichen und privaten Leben der Griechen. Regensburg: Roderer. Schörner, G. and Goette, H.-R. 2004. Die Pan-Grotte von Vari. Mainz: Von Zabern. Spathi, M. G. 2013. The cave of the Nymphs at Keratsini, Attica –A new location for the female cult of the Classical period and some intriguing finds. In ΘΕΜΕΛΙΟΝ. 24 μελέτες για τον Δάσκαλο Πέτρο Θέμελη από τους μαθητές και τους συνεργάτες του, eds. E. Sioumpara and K. Psaroudakis, 395–415. Athens: Society of Messenian Archaeological Studies. Sporn, K. 2013. Mapping Greek sacred caves: Sources, features, cults. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 202–16. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Ustinova, Y. 2009. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind. Descending Underground in the Search of Ultimate Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Valavanis, P. 2001. Marathon Museum. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Greece, Fascicle 7. Athens: Academy of Athens/Union Academique Internationale.
166 Jorge J. Bravo III and Alexandra Mari Von Saldern, A. 1980. Ancient and Byzantine Glass from Sardis. Archaeological Exploration of Sardis Monographs 6. Cambridge, MA/ London: Harvard University Press. Wickens, J. M. 1986. The Archaeology of Cave Use in Attica, Greece from Prehistoric through Late Roman Times. PhD thesis, Indiana University. Wickens, J. M. 2013. Non-ritual use of caves in the Classical and Late Roman periods: the case of Attica. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 239–46. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Yioutsos, N.-P. 2014. Pan rituals of ancient Greece: A multi-sensory body experience. In Archaeoacoustics. The Archaeology of Sound. Publication of the 2014 Conference in Malta, ed. L. C. Eneix, 57–68. Myakka City, FL: The OTS Foundation. Yioutsos, N.-P. 2019. Pan rituals of ancient Greece revisited. In Between Worlds: Understanding Ritual Cave Use in Later Prehistory, eds. L. Büster, E. Warmenbol and D. Mlekuž, 113–35. Cham: Springer. Zampiti, A. 2013. Schisto Cave at Keratsini (Attika): The pottery from Classical through Roman times. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen. 306–13. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Zografou, A. 2017. Constructing the invisible: Light and darkness in the topography of Hades. In The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology, eds. C. Papadopoulos and H. Moyes. Oxford Handbooks Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zoridis, P. 1977. Η σπηλιά των Νυμφών της Πεντέλης. Archaiologike Ephemeris, 4–11.
8 The face of cave rituals Terracotta figurines in Greek sacred caves Katja Sporn
This chapter focuses on investigating the role of terracotta figurines in Attic caves, but the results will be compared with figurines from other parts of the Greek world. After a discussion of terracotta figurines found in Greek caves and matters of chronology, there follows a closer examination of types of figurines from Attic caves. Several related questions arise from this. Are some types broadly specific for cults or even caves or are there preferences according to regional or local fashion? Were the figurines involved in rituals for gods that we can identify? Where exactly were the figurines found and what can be said about their use in the cult? Were they displayed in a specific way? Were they connected with rituals of washing, painting, and dressing as marble statues were? How long have they been on display? Do they have any traces of exposure to fire or deliberate destruction? Were they brought in singly or in sets? Were they combined with certain other goods of metal, clay, or bone? What was their chronological range compared with other votives? Were they used alongside votives of other materials and types or could one sort stand in for another at times? Why would this happen?1 In the frame of this chapter, I will try to give a brief overview of the relevant issues. Terracotta figurines feature among the finds in caves which –if occurring in a sufficient number –can indicate the cultic use of the site.2 In fact, they comprise one of the most informative set of finds that positively argue for the cultic use of a cave, as they can serve no other purpose in such localities. Nevertheless, as we will see, the lack of figurines is not a reason to dismiss a certain cave as a cult site: before so determining, an in-depth analysis assessing the context-related material is obviously obligatory. Since terracotta figurines were mass-produced and widely circulated in the Greek world, the question arises as to how the identification of a particular cult or ritual can be assessed through their study. Out of approximately 180 definite or probable cult caves that are identified in the Greek world, 130 lie in modern-day Greece and at least 110 of them have yielded archaeological material. In 30 of them terracotta figurines were found but only a few can be regarded as fully or even partly published. This last matter is of course a considerable problem when proposing theories about this class of artefacts. Nevertheless, I would like to draw attention
168 Katja Sporn Table 8.1 Overview: Terracotta figurines in Attic caves. Table produced by the author. Caves
Daphni, Pan Cave
10 figurines: seated and standing females, two protomai, a Pan/Bes, head of Pan, a Silen; from burnt layer in front of the cave: cattle, bird, fragment of small table, a lion or griffin-leg large number of figurines: mainly seated females, Pans, a child or Attis (not provided)
late 6th to early 4th century B CE , some from 3rd century B CE , and Byzantine
Eleusis, Pan Cave Hymettos, Leontari Cave Keratsini, Schisto Cave
Lavrion, Kitsos Cave Marathon, Oinoe II Parnes, Lychnospilia Penteli, Pan and Nymphs Cave Vari, Nympholept Cave
Salamis, Euripides Cave
5th century B CE until Roman late to final 5th century B CE
not many figurines: mainly females, standing and seated, a herm, three Silenes, a herdsman, fragments of a doll, animals (pig, cock and birds) 2 figurines: crouching boy and peplophoros female figurines, a Pan
few Late Geometric, most Classical, some Late Roman, and later finds
mid-5th to end of 4th century B CE (not provided)
25 figurines: mainly females, round (not provided) pinax depicting a snake, seated shepherd, Papposilen, Pan 4 figurines: a seated female, two one from 5th century B CE , other from 4th Pans, two herms century B CE to 1st century CE 59 figurines and figural (not provided) vases: masks and protomai, three Pans, cistophoros, Tanagra hydrophoros, tortoise, frog, dove, column, actor figurines and pinakes (not provided)
to the topic, because I think that the material that is already known does allow some insights. I will focus on the cult caves of Attica because they are among the best studied cave assemblages in Greece (Table 8.1). In nine of them, i.e. Daphni, Eleusis, Leontari, Schisto at Keratsini, Kitsos, Marathon Oinoe II, Lychnospilia on Parnes, Penteli, and Vari, archaeologists have found terracotta figurines whose iconography and date have been well studied.3 I was kindly allowed to restudy the figurines from three of these caves, namely Vari, Penteli, and Eleusis.4 In all the nine caves the Nymphs
The face of cave rituals 169 and/or Pan were worshipped according to the finds, especially marble reliefs with inscriptions. This secure attribution of the cave to a certain cult is important when analyzing the spectrum of the figurines in relation to the deity or deities worshipped.5
Appearance and distribution of terracotta figurines in caves Terracotta figurines began to appear in caves in Archaic times.6 The largest amount belongs to the Classical and Hellenistic periods, whereas in Roman Imperial times they become quite rare. This chronological range corresponds with the peak of the cultic use of caves in ancient Greece, namely from the fifth century BC E through to Hellenistic times. Further, it tallies with the prime period of terracotta figurine production in Greece, with its peak again in the Hellenistic era.7 Terracotta figurines occur in caves much more frequently than do metal finds, which appear in quite small numbers and only in a few super- regional sanctuaries. Metal finds are rarely found in Attic caves; when they are, they include small objects such as jewellery and coins, never larger objects such as tripods or armour.8 This shows that the metal objects in Attic caves are mainly related with female adorants and not with males (such as is the case in caves like the Idaean on Crete or Polis on Ithaca). Terracotta figurines come second to other finds only in the Imperial era. In Late Antiquity, figurines are surpassed by lamps, which become the most conspicuous find-set and, in a way, substitutes for the figurines. Xeni Arapogianni has undertaken an exemplary in-depth study of the material found in the Attic caves of Pan and the Nymphs, completed in 2000.9 Since then, further finds of terracotta figurines were revealed in Attic caves, such as Leontari on Mount Hymettos,10 Schisto at Keratsini,11 and the Cave of Pan at Marathon.12 It is noteworthy that, up to now, in no Attic cave have figurines been found in particularly large numbers. The numbers known are approximate ones, but even with regard to caves with larger amounts such as Vari (ca. 59, including figural vases) and Lychnospilia on Mount Parnes (25 pieces), we are far from triple-digit numbers. This contrasts largely with evidence from outside Attica, where several thousands of terracotta figurines have been excavated in caves. Particular high scores come from the Corycian Cave on Mount Parnassos (around 50,000 fragments), the Cave of Leibethrian Nymphs (or of Nymph Koroneia) inside a rock metope on one of the top plateaus of Mount Helikon, close to the modern village of Ayia Triada (Figure 8.1), Saftouli Cave close to Pitsa, Lechova in the Sikyonia, and Paliambela close to Vonitsa (with several hundreds of circular groups of dancers) (Figure 8.2). Other caves on the Ionian islands and in Aitoloakarnania have also yielded numerous circular groups of dancers, which seem typical for that region.13 However, one has to keep in mind here that figurines are among the more prestigious objects and so more, potentially, liable to be looted or taken away down the ages.
170 Katja Sporn
Figure 8.1 The Cave of Leibethrian Nymphs on Mount Helicon: Entrance down left on the vertical cliff. Photograph: S. Katsarou. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
The face of cave rituals 171
Figure 8.2 Paliambela Cave, Vonitsa. Figurine complex depicting dancers in a circle. Photograph: S. Katsarou. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology.
The rather small number of figurines from Attic caves, however, seems to reflect the circumstances of their original deposition rate, since the figurines have been found only in small numbers even in caves which yielded large numbers of ceramics (e.g. Cave of Pan at Eleusis and Schisto Cave at Keratsini). It is therefore assumed here that the relatively small quantities of figurines reflect the habits of the visitors to the caves. This might mean that caves with large quantities of ceramics and few figurines could have been more often frequented by men than women, whereas caves with little finds in general were simply not much visited by either sex. In turn we would argue for a rather localised spectrum of visitors to the Attic caves, which is further supported by the fact that there are rarely any precious imports from other parts of the Greek world –as opposed to the supra-regional caves mentioned above. In any case, the small number of figurines in Attic caves should be kept in mind.
Types and iconography First, we should consider the types of figurines in Attic caves and assess them in the light of comparable objects in other caves of the Greek world. According to the analysis of Arapogianni, the most common type is
172 Katja Sporn the enthroned female figure crowned with a polos or stephane. Many of these figurines have been found in the Cave of Oinoe II at Marathon, where there are no figurines before the first half of the fifth century B C E . A large number also turned up in the cave of Mount Parnes, but less are known from the caves at Vari, Eleusis, Daphni, and Penteli. This type is one of the most common represented at the turn from the late Archaic to the early Classical period in Attic sanctuaries in general, and thus not very indicative. Another important type is the standing female figure with a belted chiton, sometimes with a himation on top, holding an object or an animal (mainly a bird) in front of the belly. Again, this type is very common in the Marathon cave but rarer at the caves of Parnes, Vari, Eleusis, and Daphni. Types of figurines holding ritual objects, such as a kanephoros at Vari and Eleusis, and a hydrophoros at Vari, are too rare to shed light on any ritual involved, although they are both connected with the use of liquids, namely water.14 The same observation applies to a single figure of Cybele found in the Oinoe II at Marathon.15 Generally speaking, single or rarely documented gods in a sanctuary context are rather to be regarded as visiting when assessing the identity of potential cult foci.16 For the Oinoe II at Marathon, Arapogianni proposes a connection with Artemis considering the finding of figurines related to her milieu, such as a female embracing a small deer, and children of the types seen as arktoi, which are common in the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron; examples of these also appear in the cave of Parnes.17 She explains this connection between Artemis and the Nymphs in the caves, where they were worshipped together, as having to do with rituals of marriage and birth.18 Another rather rare type in Attic caves is the female protome, two of which are known from Daphni and one from Vari. This is a very small number indeed when compared, for example, with the Polis cave on Ithaca where they comprise by far the largest number of the terracotta figurines represented.19 Much has been written on the meaning of protomai: I would agree with the view of Arthur Muller and Stephanie Huysecom-Haxhi in interpreting the figure as the head of a female adorant rather than a goddess, an argument which makes their presence in the cave of little value in identifying a particular cult.20 It is noteworthy that –although male protomai exist as a type, too, they do not seem to occur in Greek caves. Very rarely are there male figures other than Pan, the Silenoi, and Satyrs –only one is recorded among the older finds from Marathon, and three are reported from Vari. This complies with the general range of occurrence of terracotta figurines in Greek sanctuaries: they are mostly found in sanctuaries of female deities connected with different stages in the lives of women and children.21 They were less connected with the men´s world. Animal figurines occur in nearly all the caves, especially birds, which were interpreted by Arapogianni as inexpensive offerings within the reach of humble adorants, peasants, herdsmen, or children. Some figurines also represent in the context of the female world.22 Fragments of dolls appear in
The face of cave rituals 173 the caves of Marathon and Vari. Offerings of human limbs (hands, feet) from between the second half of the fifth century BCE until Hellenistic times were excavated at the caves of Marathon, Vari, and Daphni. While dolls are much more common in Attic contexts, in both sanctuaries and graves, than elsewhere in Greece and can be regarded as a typical Attic figurine type connected with coming-of-age rituals rather than anything particular in the adult female sphere,23 the single limb votives have rather more in common with healing cults (like tamata in modern Greece). All the Attic caves discussed in this study have yielded figurines representing the entourage of Pan (Satyrs, Papposilenes, and Silenoi), with the exception of Eleusis, where instead many figurines of Pan himself have been found. Pan appears in Attica in two types, seated and standing. Both types can occur in all caves from the fifth century B C E through Roman times. The Pan terracotta figurine types correspond with the ones depicted on the marble reliefs of Pan and the Nymphs, for which Arapogianni recognised common statuary prototypes. Pan and his entourage occur in many Greek sanctuaries in Classical times but their specific cult is not recorded: they can rather be regarded as visiting gods.24 Nevertheless, in the context of the caves, especially the Attic ones, in which the cult of Pan developed after the Battle of Marathon, the new figural types are more directly related to the cult, which, as we have seen above, in many cases is also testified to by written sources. Other than the figures of Pan and his world, no other cave-cult specific terracotta figurine types have been found in Attic caves. A comparison of the assemblages found in caves from outside Attica with finds from other regional contexts (i.e. finds in graves and private houses) is important here. For example, it would be interesting to know whether the groups of circular terracotta figurines of dancing Nymphs (with Pan) or the pinakes depicting dancing Nymphs –both have iconographical ties to Attic marble reliefs of Pan and the Nymphs, and are popular in Aitoloakarnania (Figure 8.3) –were restricted to cave use or whether they also occurred in other contexts.25 Following Arapogianni, most of the terracotta figurines were intended as gifts for the Nymphs in their role of protectresses in the spheres of marriage and children. In addition to the range of votive-types themselves, inscriptions testify to women and children frequenting even remote caves.26 The purpose was obviously the hope for fertility and the well-being of the children, in addition to a plea for health –although true healing cults connected with medical help are rarely attested in caves.27 Furthermore, shepherds and other individuals regularly frequenting the mountains naturally visited caves. Although caves could have been places for holding rites of passage, this act is probably not testified to by terracotta figurines but rather by other categories of archaeological finds, mainly ceramics involved in food and drink consumption.28 Generally speaking, the caves in the Attic hinterland are primarily connected to popular cults.
174 Katja Sporn
Figure 8.3 Paliambela Cave, Vonitsa. Pinax depicting Pan with Nymphs. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology.
Function of the terracotta figurines: Votives or ritual objects? There are various assessments on the role of the terracotta figurines in sanctuaries. While in earlier research most of the figurines, even the ones without clear attributions of certain gods, were considered as divinities, more recent contributions, especially by Muller und Huysecom-Haxhi, have refuted this hypothesis. Now, most of the figurines (or those without attributes) are considered as representations of the adorants, being in a sense avatars of the human beings who offered the gifts and perpetuating their presence in the sanctuary.29 Representations of gods or mythical beings could either denote that these were worshipped or could have been votives whose purpose was to help worshippers in gaining the favour of the god. Were the terracotta figurines merely gifts to the gods, i.e. votives, or were they themselves employed actively in ritual acts? Unfortunately, the written sources are not clear on the topic. There are no particular references to clay statues, whereas at times those in stone, metal, or wood are explicitly mentioned. It is thus important to consider the find context, the possible
The face of cave rituals 175 original placement of the figurines and examine the objects themselves for traces of use. It has been rightly argued that an object on or next to the altar served a different purpose than one placed further off on a bench or table, or even left hanging on a tree or a wall.30 Objects found with an altar are not necessarily votives but could have been ritual objects themselves. In her study on the placement of terracotta figurines, Brita Alroth opines that they were mostly placed on or close to the altar and that they were not used as a ritual object. Nonetheless, she mentions clear traces of burning on the figurines from the Ptoion sanctuary in Boiotia. According to their find context, objects including terracotta figurines were thrown into an altar-fire at the pyra of Herakles on Mount Oite and in the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis. In other sanctuaries, terracotta figurines were found in mixed secondary contexts along with charcoal remains from the thysia or with remains of sacred meals (e.g. at Eleusis, Acrocorinth, Apollon Maleatas in Epidauros, Artemision on Thasos).31 Whereas a findspot close to an altar can only be interpreted in terms of its positioning as near as possible to the centre of the ritual activity, a findspot on the altar may well indicate use in the ritual itself. Furthermore, it is important to study the relationship of the terracotta figurines with regard to both the immovable and the movable furnishings of a sacred space. Telling in this respect is a well-known Hellenistic inscription from the Asklepeion at Athens, where the cult statue was so much hidden by numerous votives that a large-scale cleaning was ordered, and everything which did not belong to the cult was moved away.32 In the caves, cult images, and also altars, are not as clearly defined as in built sacred spaces.33 Natural phenomena such as prominent rock formations, stalagmites, or stalactites served as focal points of attention to the faithful, just as cult images could serve in built shrines. Only rarely are free-standing statues of stone mentioned. There is no case known of a clay cult image in a cave. In any case, the moderate size of the terracotta figurines themselves (the Attic ones range from 10–20 cm) does not indicate such a use. Large-scale terracotta figurines have not been documented from cave contexts.34 The interpretation of a natural feature such as an altar or trapeza (table of offering) is also typologically difficult: it all rather depends on the related finds. The natural rock surface and cavities in the ground could equally serve as places of (burnt) offerings. From Hellenistic times on, in particular, altars were often established in front of caves to allow participation of a larger number of people close to the ritual centre. If we want to reconstruct the function of a terracotta figurine, we need to record carefully the physical state of the object. Does a figurine show trace of burning or intentional fracture? Deliberate breaking might denote a defunctionalization of the object,35 even more so if seen in combination with traces of burning (breakage into the fire). The throwing of objects into fire was part of rituals at some sanctuaries, e.g. at the Daidala in Boeotia, where wooden statuettes were thrown into the flames in the sanctuary of Herakles on mount Oite (referring to the funeral pyre of Herakles himself), the Laphria
176 Katja Sporn at Patras, and the feast of Isis in her allegedly largest sanctuary in Greece close to Tithorea –just to name a few. While, following Martin Nilsson, some scholars regard these actions as reminiscent of prehistoric fire rituals; others follow Fritz Graf, who interprets these practises as rituals of transition.36 Unfortunately, the publications on terracotta figurines normally concern themselves only with aspects of typology, chronology, provenience, and material. Rarely do the reports include accurate descriptions on the preservation and treatments of the surfaces and possible traces of burning.37 A systematic analysis of terracotta figurines found in sanctuaries in the context of altars or ash remains an important desideratum.38
Find contexts and actual state of terracotta figurines in Attic caves In the Cave of Pan at Daphni, which was especially or even exclusively used as a cult cave in the fifth century BCE , offerings were directly placed on the surface of the rock, on the floor and right in front of its entrance. The finds include terracotta figurines. Placed inside the cave, in a cavity with ashes, was the head of a female; outside was an animal figurine, probably a bovine.39 The
Figure 8.4 Eleusis Cave: Pan’s head with holes. Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, Inv. No 7082b. Photograph: Author.
The face of cave rituals 177
Figure 8.5 Vari Cave: Figurine with traces of burn on the backside. Athens National Archaeological Museum, Inv. No. 23032. Photograph: Author.
offerings in the Cave of Pan and the Nymphs on Penteli were not directly placed on the surface of the rock. Rather, they were documented at various spots to be, set on roof tiles and then burnt.40 Jere Wickens mentions traces of burning on a tile, and I could detect traces of fire on five of the terracotta figurines found in the cave.41 Also, many of the terracotta figurines from the Cave of Pan at Eleusis bear clear traces that they were burnt. Unfortunately, the excavators did not document the exact findspots, and the cave is nowadays destroyed.42 However, it should be stressed that the treatment of some of the Hellenistic finds from that cave is striking, although it has no immediate consequences for interpreting the use of the figurines. Two of the female heads have very fine eye piercings, and three figures of Pan additionally have pierced nostrils and a scratch for the mouth (Figure 8.4).43 They differ from a standing Pan figure which bears incised eye-holes.44 Although these configurations were made before firing, which means they were not done as part of a ritual, they signify that an emphasis was placed on the glance and other sensorial features of the figures, something which has also been observed in the finishing touches
178 Katja Sporn
Figure 8.6 View of the Phthiotis plain from the entrance of Ambouria Cave on the northeastern slopes of Mount Parnassos. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
Figure 8.7 Ambouria Cave: Small collection of figurines. Photograph: A. Iliakopoulos. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology.
The face of cave rituals 179
Figure 8.8 Ambouria Cave: Enthroned female terracotta figure in situ. Photograph: P. Kounouklas.
to the painting of marble statues. If this was simply something en vogue in Hellenistic times in Eleusis or whether it is cave-context-specific cannot be ascertained; it would be necessary to study terracotta finds from other find contexts in Eleusis.
180 Katja Sporn Most of the 42 figurines from the Vari Cave were excavated near a retaining wall of the main space in the interior. Although they were not found in situ, it is possible that they were originally placed on the stepped area above the throne.45 Some of them bear traces of burning (Figure 8.5).46 A protome of mid-late fifth-century carries a small suspension hole on top (2 mm across). From what is known of similar finds from the Polis cave on Ithaka, it could either have been attached to a pillar or a piece of wood set up here.47 Black spots, possibly stemming from fire, are especially visible in the area of the hair and on the back of the protome.
A view beyond Attica Even outside Attica, find contexts of caves do not provide clues to the original use and setting of terracotta figurines. Rocks with a naturally or artificially smooth surface would make for good resting places, as well as natural or artificial niches.48 However, even here, definite clues as to the settings are rare. A surprising find in this respect was the Cave of Ambouria on the eastern slope of Mount Parnassos in the area of ancient Phthiotis, now high above the modern village of Aghia Marina (Figure 8.6).49 Until some decades ago it was most likely near intact. Unfortunately, it was already plundered when its existence was communicated to the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology–Speleology. Nowadays you can only gain a vague idea of what an earlier visitor must have seen: numerous small cavities along the walls preserve the remains of figurines (Figure 8.7), mainly seated females, which due to the steady activities of the stalactites had been covered with a skin of a living rock. A seated enthroned figure of Classical date, whose surface is covered with sinter remains in situ (Figure 8.8).
Terracotta figurines: Single or multiple use and display? We know that statues in sanctuaries were not only regularly cleaned, washed, even re-painted, but also –when used in an actual ritual –dressed and carried around in processions. While we have evidence for marble, wooden, and metal statues, sources remain silent about the use of terracotta figures. This lack of knowledge regards not only their treatment but their overall existence. As opposed to figurines in the other material groups, clay figures simply are not mentioned in the written record. The terracottas studied from Daphni, Eleusis, and Vari do not bear any signs of repair or alteration, which could indicate a longer period of use and display in the caves. When the surfaces are worn, it is impossible to clarify if this is due to a long use of the object before bringing it into the sanctuary, which could be the case with dolls (and some of the animal figurines) or due to the use inside the sanctuary. But, generally, terracotta figurines seem to have been inexpensive and easy-to- produce, destined for a limited time of use –be it weeks, months, or at best a few years.
The face of cave rituals 181 Recent studies have drawn attention to the fact that clay figurines were brought to sanctuaries in groups.50 These sets might be required to meet the demands of a ritual, as was the case with the Late Minoan IIIB–IIIC domestic shrines on Crete. Somewhat standardised sets here (with a few variations) include the type of a goddess with upraised arms, the snake tube, a plaque, and sometimes a kalathos.51 Since they were often found together in one context, it is possible to reconstruct the set-up: the goddess sitting on a bench, the snake tubes displayed on the floor in front, and the plaques hanging on the wall. Other examples of such arrangements of figurines –more in a figural group than a ritual set –come from Elea-Velia, Magna Grecia, where various figurines, including seated figures, were set up in a communal naiskos. Up to now, it is not possible to reconstruct any such setting of display for a cave. Although –if not displayed in small-sized niches and hollows as in the Cave of Ambouria –it seems likely that they will have been positioned close to each other, yet we have no way to determine if they were brought as a set by a single adorant or many worshippers for a single occasion. It was therefore expedient that the worshippers were on the lookout for apt positions for the figurines in the physical formation of each cave. Thus, the stepped area in the Cave of Vari, where many terracotta figurines have been found, lies next to and above the rock-cut figure of Cybele. Figurines, and possibly other objects found in the cave such as lamps or ceramics, would have visually framed the seated figure. In a recently investigated cave above Tithorea lies a similar bench-like rock-structure below the cavity of a plinth, where a small-scale statue or altar must once have existed.52 Very close are two rock formations: one vaguely recalls a sitting figure, the other on the wall resembles a standing male. Whether these are natural and fortuitous or originally modelled, but now heavily weathered, one cannot tell.
Conclusion Although terracotta figurines are very good indicators for the identification of a cave cult in broad terms, more detailed information concerning the deity or deities, the patrons, and the rituals involved are far more difficult to discern. Unless we have other sources or find categories, an interpretation is challenging. Through iconographical and anthropological deduction, arguments more often inidcate both for the cult of female deities and the use of the caves by women and children in various phases of their life. In contrast, the figurines offer only restricted information about male presence among the votaries, who would offer the votives and the practice cult. Unfortunately, caves have in most cases been used over the centuries as retreats for animals and those seeking shelter, and only rarely are intact stratigraphic and contextual observations possible, which would help the investigation of the original use and role of the terracotta figurines, both as votives and ritual objects. The analysis of finds from older provides evidence of some instances when figurines are placed on natural surfaces, often on or close to the altar,
182 Katja Sporn or in niches on the walls. To understand the role and function of terracotta figurines in cave contexts better, new excavations must carefully record on the exact and original spatial features of the location of the figurines in relation to information about how the figurines are preserved and whether they bear traces of use or modification, be it by fire or intentional breakage.
Notes 1 Many thanks to Doniert Evely for improving the English text. 2 I have discussed many of the general topics on the cultic use of caves in historical times in other articles, see Sporn 2007; 2010; 2013; Sporn 2020. 3 General studies on Attic caves: Wickens 1986; Arapogianni 2000. 4 Many thanks are owed to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens (Giorgos Kavvadias) and the Archaeological Museum of Eleusis (Kalliopi Papangeli) for facilitating my studies in 2015. 5 Compare Alroth 1989 and 1999 for a general approach on the variance of the types of terracotta figurines in Greek sanctuaries and changing habits from Classical to Hellenistic times. Only in one of the caves, Marathon Oinoe II, might Artemis have been worshipped along with other deities, something deduced from the material found in combination with the literary evidence. On a hypothesis on the role of Artemis alongside the Nymphs at the cave of Marathon, see below. 6 We are not dealing here with prehistoric sites, where figurines have been found already from Neolithic times and onwards, but with the emergence of cult caves in the Geometric period. For general aspects on the chronology of cult caves, see Sporn 2013. Only few of the figurines found in caves in Greece were earlier; compare, e.g. Mylonopoulos 2016, and Morgan and Hayward, this volume, on the Polis cave of Ithaca. 7 See now, e.g. Adam-Veleni et al. 2017. 8 Jewellery, especially finger-rings, were found in the Schisto Cave at Keratsini, Oinoe II Lychnospilia Cave on Mount Parnes and the Cave of Euripides on Salamis, here together with coins. Expensive bronze finds such as tripods and armour were found, e.g. in the Idaean Cave on Crete and Polis cave on Ithaka; bronze statuettes of Geometric date and Archaic mirror-handles beside jewellery, in the Corycian Cave. 9 Arapogianni 2000, especially 208–14 for the analysis of the terracotta figurines. 10 Karali et al. 2006. 11 Spathi 2013. 12 The emphasis lies up to now on the study of the Neolithic phases, see Mari 2018. 13 Corycian Cave: Amandry 1984. Helicon: Vassilopoulou et al. 2015. Lechova: Kormazopoulou et al. 2011. Paliambela: Hatziotis et al. 1989. Ithaka, Polis cave: Deoudi 2008; Mylonopoulos 2016; Morgan and Hayward, this volume. Saftoulis Cave, Pitsa: Orlandos 1964. For a particular mention about the rarity of terracotta figurines as compared to ceramics in the cave of Hermes Cave on Mount Kyllene, see Erath 1999. 14 On the meaning of the hydrophoros, see Kozlowski 2015. 15 Nevertheless, Arapogianni associates it with a tradition documented through Pindar, according to whom Cybele was numbered in the entourage of Pan
The face of cave rituals 183 in Boeotia, see Arapogianni 2000, 116, fig. 97 with reference to Borgeaud 1979, 254–5. 16 Compare the general works on this topic by Alroth 1987 and Parisi 2017. 17 Arapogianni also connects two figural vases from Marathon with Artemis. Nevertheless, especially Artemis appears often as a visiting god in Greek sanctuaries, see Alroth 1988, 109–3, pls. 110–1. Compare the role of Artemis in connection with Pan and the events at Marathon in Ellinger 2003, which –since they denote the beginning of the cult of Pan at Marathon –could be another reason for such figurines offered at the cave of Oinoe II at Marathon. 18 On the worship of Artemis in caves with the Nymphs, see Sporn 2007, 56, 59, 60; Sporn 2013, 208. 19 Benton 1934–5; Mylonopoulos 2016, 247. 20 A well-known Hellenistic clay protome with an inscription seems to have been dedicated by a woman in Polis cave, see Benton 1934–5, 54–6, fig. 7; IG IX.12. 4.1615. 21 Huysecom-Haxhi and Muller 2015, 433–4. 22 In Vari, a bird, a tortoise, and a frog have been found; in Parnes, three birds, a dog (or horse), and the ear of a bovine; in Daphni, a badly preserved torso of an animal. On similar animal figurines in the Artemis sanctuary of Thasos and their meaning, see Huysecom-Haxhi 2009. 23 Schwarzmaier 2006. 24 Alroth 1989, 109–10, pl. 110. 25 Compare the contributions of A. Karadima and A. Nagel in this volume. See also, e.g. Samartzidou-Orkopoulou 2015; Mylonopoulos 2016, 247, fig. 9. 26 On the inscriptions, see Sporn 2020. Wickens 1986, 178 supposes that small objects were dedicated by women, while the reliefs were dedicated by men. 27 For the Cave of Cheiron in Thessaly, and some Asklepeia in the Peloponnese, see Sporn 2013, 208. 28 Muller 2018, 8. A comparison between the different types of findings and the analysis of their use is thus necessary for each cave. 29 Huysecom-Haxhi and Muller 2007; Huysecom-Haxhi and Muller 2015, 12–3; Patera 2012, 109–13. 30 Alroth 1988; Patera 2012, 177. 31 Alroth 1988, 202–3. Unfortunately, the publications of these figurines do not make any reference to their state of preservation; compare with the Artemision of Thasos (Huysecom-Haxi 2009), Eleusis (Kokkou-Vyridi 1999), and Apollon Maleatas (Peppa-Papaioannou 1985). 32 IG II/III2.995, compare Sporn 2014, 123 with n. 36. 33 See in detail for built and natural features and the organization of space in Greek cult caves, Sporn 2020, but also Sporn 2010 and 2013. 34 The rarely found marble statues in caves are instead sometimes under life-size, see Sporn 2020. 35 Alroth 1988. Defunctionalizing is particularly common with weapons dedicated in sanctuaries, but they seem to have been so treated before becoming a votive in a sanctuary, whereas here we would rather see the figurines going out of use after having served as either a ritual object or a votive. 36 Patera 2012, 171–7 with further references.
184 Katja Sporn 37 For a thorough review of recent trends in coroplastic studies: Muller 2017–18. Even here it is clear that studies deal more with other aspects such as materiality and production, circulation and interpretation of types. 38 This would be in line with Alroth 1998 but would make necessary first-hand studies of the figurines. 39 Travlos 1937, 405–8. In the pyre on the floor of the cave a small head of a female figurine was found; in the pyre in front of the cave along with many fragments of coarse ware pottery were an animal figurine (rather a bovid than a dog) and a bird. 40 Zoridis 1977; Wickens 1986, 206. 41 Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Inv. No PE 23297. 42 Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, Inv. Nos 7102, 7113, 7126, 7120–5, 7123. 43 Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, Inv. Nos. 7133c, 7134. Pan: 7082a and b, 7083a. 44 Archaeological Museum of Eleusis, Inv. No 2699. 45 As argued by Schörner 2004, 78–90. 46 E.g., Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Inv. Nos 23051, 23047 a and b, 23037, 23032. 47 Vari: Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Inv. No 22999. According to Arapogianni 2000, 423, it was found in situ, but neither she nor King 1903 nor Schörner 2004 refer to a specific findspot. On the possible suspension on a pillar in the cave at Ithaca, see Mylonopoulos 2016, 249, fig. 10, while Deoudi 2008, 322–3 supposes that the votives in the Polis cave were attached to a concave wall with a step in front, of fourth century BC E date. 48 Sporn 2020. 49 The cave was briefly investigated by the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology- Speleology. On the cave and a summary of the collected finds, see Katsarou 2013. 50 Salapata 2015. 51 Among the many publications on this topic, I would like to single out the work by Geraldine Gesell, partly augmented and partly criticized by other researches. See also Gaignerot- Driessen 2014, with full literature and discussion of the evidence. 52 Katsarou et al., forthcoming.
Bibliography Adam-Veleni, P., Zografou, E., Koukouvou, A., Palli O. and Stafani, E., eds. 2017. Ειδώλια. Ένας μικρόκοσμoς από πηλό. Thessaloniki: Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. Alroth, B. 1987. Visiting gods. In Gifts to the Gods. Proceedings of the Uppsala Symposium 1985, eds. T. Linders and G. C. Nordquist, 9–19. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. Alroth, B. 1988. The positioning of Greek votive figurines. In Early Greek Cult Practice. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 26–29 June 1986, eds. R. Hägg, N. Marinatos and G. C. Nordquist, 195– 203. ActaAth-40 38. Stockholm: Swedish Institute at Athens. Alroth, B. 1989. Greek Gods and Figurines: Aspects of Anthropomorphic Dedications. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
The face of cave rituals 185 Alroth, B. 1999. Changes in votive practice? From Classical to Hellenistic. In Ancient Greek Cult Practice from the Archaeological Evidence. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Ancient Greek Cult, Organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, 22–24 October 1993, ed. R. Hägg, 217–28. Stockholm: Paul Aström. Amandry, P. 1984. L’Antre Corycien II. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplément 9. Paris/Athens: École française d’Athènes. Arapogianni, X. 2000. Τα σπήλαια του Πανός στην Αττική. PhD thesis, University of Thessaloniki. Benton, S. 1934–35. Excavations in Ithaca, III. The cave at Polis, I. BSA 35, 45–73. Borgeaud, 1979. Recherches sur le dieux Pan. Rome: Institut suisse de Rome. Deoudi, M. 2008. ΙΘΑΚΗ. Die Polis-Höhle, Odysseus und die Nymphen. Thessaloniki: University Studio Press. Ellinger, P. 2003. Artémis, Pan et Marathon. Mythe, polytheisme et événement historique. In Myth and Symbol 1. Symbolic Phenomena in Ancient Greek Culture. Papers from the First International Symposium on Symbolism at the University of Tromso, June 4–7, 1998, ed. S. des Bouvrie, 313–32. Bergen: The Norwegian Institute at Athens. Erath, G. 1999. Heiligtümer und Kulte Nordostarkadiens. Der archäologische Befund. In Pheneos und Lousoi. Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und Topographie Nordostarkadiens, ed. K. Tausend, 238–46. Frankfurt am Main: Lang. Gaignerot-Driessen, F. 2014. Goddesses refusing to appear? Reconsidering the Late Minoan III figures with upraised arms. American Journal of Archaeology 118, 489–520. Hatziotis, M., Stratouli, G. and Kotjambopoulou, E. 1989. Η σπηλιά της Δράκαινας. Athens Annals of Archaeology 22, 31–59. Huysecom-Haxhi, S. and Muller, A. 2007. Déesses et/ou mortelles dans la plastique de terre cuite. Réponses actuelles à une question ancienne. Pallas 75, 231–47. Huysecom-Haxhi, S. and Muller, A. 2015. Figurines en contexte, de l’identification à la fonction: vers une archéologie de la religion. In Figurines grecques en contexte. Présence muette dans le sanctuaire, la tombe et la maison, eds. S. Huysecom-Haxhi and A. Muller, 421–38. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Karali, L., Mavridis, T. and Kormazopoulou, L. 2006. Σπήλαιο Λεονταρίου Υμηττού Αττικής. Ένα πετρώδες και ορεινό περιβάλλον. Athens Annals of Archaeology 39, 31–44. Katsarou, S. 2013. Λατρεία Πανός και Νυμφών σε σπήλαιο της αρχαίας Φωκίδας στον Παρνασσό. Γραμματείον 2, 33–40. Katsarou, S., Kormazopoulou, L., Laufer, E., Neumann, S., Sporn, K. and Zygouri, I. Forthcoming. Surveying the caves above Tithorea in 2016. In International Conference Ancient Phokis: New Approaches to its History, Archaeology, and Topography, DAI Athens, 30.3.–1.4.2017, eds. K. Sporn, E. Laufer and A. Farnoux. Athenaia Series. Athens: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. King, L. S. 1903. The cave at Vari: Terracotta statuettes, bronzes and miscellaneous objects. American Journal of Archaeology 7, 320–34. Kokkou-Vyridi, K. 1999. Ελευσίς: Πρώιμες πυρές θυσιών στο Τελεστήριο της Ελευσίνος. Vivliotheke tes en Athenais Archaiologikes Hetaireias 185. Athens: The Archaeological Society at Athens. Kormazopoulou, L., Zygouri, I. and Papathanasiou, V. 2011. Excavations at the cave of Lechova: A preliminary report. In Land of Sikyon: Archaeology and History of a
186 Katja Sporn Greek City State, ed. Y. A. Lolos, 589–98. Hesperia Supplement 39. Princeton: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Kozlowski, J. 2015. Les figurines d’hydrophores milieu(x) et significations. In Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine 2: Iconographie et contextes, eds. A. Muller, E. Laflı and S. Huysecom-Haxhi, 41–8. Archaiologia. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Mari, A. 2018. The later Neolithic use of the cave Oinoe IV at Marathon, Attica, Greece. Preliminary report. In Communities in Transition. The Circum-Aegean Area During the 5th and 4th Millennia BC, eds. S. Dietz, F. Mavridis, Ž. Tankosić and T. Takaoğlu, 283– 8. Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens 20. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Muller, A. 2017–18. Coroplastic studies: What’s new? Archaeological Reports 64, 153–69. Mylonopoulos, I. 2016. Terracotta figurines from Ithaca. Local production and imported ware. In Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine 1: Production, diffusion, étude, eds. A. Muller, E. Laflı and S. Huysecom-Haxhi, 239– 51. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplément 54. Paris/Athens: École française d’Athènes. Orlandos, A. K. 1964. Pitsa. Enciclopedia dell’Arte Antica VI, 203. Parisi, V. 2017. I depositi votive negli spazi del rito. Analisi dei contesti per un’archeologia della practica cultuale nel mondo siceliota e magnogreco. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider. Patera, I. 2012. Offrir en Grèce Ancienne: Gestes et Contextes. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner. Peppa-Papaioannou, E. 1985. Πήλινα ειδώλια από το ιερό του Απόλλωνα Μαλεάτα Επιδαυρίας. Athens. Salapata, G. 2015. Terracotta votive offerings in sets or groups. In Figurines grecques en contexte. Présence muette dans le sanctuaire, la tombe et la maison, eds. S. Huysecom-Haxhi and A. Muller, 179–97. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Samartzidou- Orkopoulou, S. 2015. Drakospilia: une grotte cultuelle aux confins occidentaux de Céphalonie. In Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine 2: Iconographie et contextes, eds. A. Muller, E. Laflı and S. Huysecom- Haxhi, 465–72. Archaiologia. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Schörner, G. 2004. Kleinfunde: Terrakotten. In Die Pan-Grotte von Vari, eds. H. R. Goette, G. Schörner and K. Hallof, 78–90. Mainz: von Zabern. Schwarzmaier, A. 2006. ‘Ich werde immer Kore heißen’ –Zur Grabstele der Polyxena in der Berliner Antikensammlung. Jahrbuch des deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts 121, 175–225. Spathi, M. G. 2013. The cave of the Nymphs at Keratsini, Attica. A new location for the popular female cult of the classical period and some intriguing finds. In Θεμέλιον. 24 μελέτες για τον Δάσκαλο Πέτρο Θέμελη, eds. E. Sioumpara and K. Psaroudakis, 395–415. Athens: Society of Messenian Archaeological Studies. Sporn, K. 2007. Höhlenheiligtümer in Griechenland. In Kult und Kommunikation. Medien in Heiligtümern der Antike, eds. C. Frevel and H. von Hesberg, 39– 62. Schriften des Lehr-und Forschungszentrums für die antiken Kulturen des Mittelmeerraumes 4. Wiesbaden: Reichert. Sporn, K. 2010. Espace naturel et paysages religieux: Les grottes dans le monde grec. Revue de l’histoire des religions 4, 553–71.
The face of cave rituals 187 Sporn, K. 2013. Mapping Greek sacred caves: Sources, features, cults. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 202–16. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Sporn, K. 2014. Individuum und Gott: Privatbildnisse in griechischen Tempeln. In Polis und Porträt. Standbilder als Medien öffentlicher Repräsentation im hellenistischen Osten, ed. J. Griesbach, 119–29. Wiesbaden: Reichert. Sporn, K. 2020. Man-made space versus natural space in Greek cult caves. In Hellenistic Architecture and Human Action. A Case of Reciprocal Influence. International Conference University of Kiel, 30.10.–2.11.2018, eds. A. Haugg and A . Müller, 161–81. Scales of Transformation 10. Leiden: Sidestone Press. Vassilopoulou, V., Skoumi, N. and Nassioti, E. 2015. Aphrodite figurines from the sanctuary of ‘Nymph Koronia’ at Mount Helicon. In Figurines de terre cuite en Méditerranée grecque et romaine 2: Iconographie et contextes, eds, A. Muller, E. Laflı and S. Huysecom-Haxhi, 473–80. Archaiologia. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Septentrion. Wickens, J. M. 1986. The Archaeology and History of Cave Use in Attica, Greece, from Prehistoric Through Late Roman Times. PhD thesis, Indiana University. Zoridis, P. 1977. Η σπηλιά των Νυμφών της Πεντέλης. Archaiologike Ephemeris, Χρονικά, 4–11.
9 Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves Erica Angliker
Caves and cults in the Cyclades: An overview Caves are natural cavities in the earth formed by various processes that range from the action of micro-organisms to the operation of tectonic forces and water erosion. Most caves are formed when waters circulating underground combine chemically with the bedrock (solution caves) and dissolve the stone.1 These remarkable subterranean sites have been used by human beings since time immemorial as dwellings, storage, animal pens and shelters, and sites of refuge and escape during wars or epidemics. Caves have also served as burial places as well as sites of religious ceremonies and artistic display, as can be seen in Upper Paleolithic wall paintings.2 In Greece, too, caves had multiple uses. Caves and rock shelters offer wonderful testimony of some of the earliest human habitation in this area.3 They were used early on to host religious practices and rituals, some of which may date to the Neolithic period.4 What is known about ritual practices in caves in Greece is directly related to the extensive research conducted in various areas of the country. Caves in Crete and on the mainland have already been subject to systematic study, and their finds have been published in independent volumes. Most of the caves, however, have only been the subject of synoptic studies.5 Caves in certain regions, such as the Cyclades, however, have received even less attention, particularly in concerns related to uses in religious practices. On the other hand, the Cycladic islands occupy a privileged place in the scholarship on Greek religion.6 The islands are home to Delos, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and one of the most important sanctuaries in ancient Greece, but also to a great number of sanctuaries along with a wealth of inscriptions and votives. Although the island of Delos has enjoyed a paramount place within Cycladic studies, our knowledge of sanctuaries in the archipelago has changed dramatically in recent years, thanks to archaeological discoveries of previously unknown religious centres that went unmentioned in inscriptions and literary sources (e.g. Despotiko, Kythnos). These discoveries have drawn attention to cultic practices on islands beyond Delos and fostered studies of the diverse cults practised throughout the archipelago. Although much effort has gone into gaining a deeper understanding of the dynamics of sanctuaries on Cycladic islands, a complete picture of
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 189 religious life in the region can be achieved only by including cults practices held in natural spaces, such as groves, gardens, rivers, at mountains, and in caves. Due to the impermanent and perishable nature of much of the physical evidence of cultic practices at such sites, however, their identification is not always possible. One exception to this rule are cults practised in caves, which have served as kinds of “protective shells” for archaeological remains.7 The goal of this paper is to evaluate archaeological, epigraphic, and literary evidence to answer research questions about the role of caves as cultic sites on these islands.8 What is the evidence and nature of cultic practices in Cycladic caves? Which divinities were worshipped, and what natural elements were integrated into the cult practices? How were the practices of cult in Cycladic cave sanctuaries integrated into the regional and supra-regional landscape of the islands, and what was the context within which various networks operated on different levels (local and inter-island)? Most of the cave sanctuaries of the Cyclades have been explored only sporadically, and the consequent findings have not always been fully published or studied. As a result, cultic activity in caves has been detected only on a few Cycladic islands (Figure 9.1), and of these, the divinities worshipped have been securely identified in only half the cases. However, even when they have been identified, it has proven difficult to determine how these cults were integrated into the local religious system. With few exceptions (e.g. Paros, Naxos), local pantheons have only been sporadically explored. In addition, due to a lack of votive materials in some instances, it is difficult to determine the exact nature of the cave cults performed. Such is the case with the cave at Paleopolis, on the island of Andros, where the only evidence of a cult is an inscription with the word “ὄρος” or “sacred” (IG XII.5 731) carved on the external side wall of the cave. This inscribed rock delimits the sacred area within the cave. Although Michalis Tiverios suggested that the Nymphs were worshipped here together with Pan and Acheloos, his hypothesis has remained speculative at best.9 He associated these divinities with this particular cave based on a reading of epigraphic testimony about the cult of the Nymphs on the island in the first century B C E (IG XII.5 735) and a relief depicting the Nymphs together with Pan and Acheloos. This association, however, may be purely accidental or limited to a specific chronological time frame. Similar limitations thwart our knowledge of the cults performed in caves on the island of Syros. Here, a rupestrian inscription (IG XII.5 673) found near two caves near Ano Siros suggests that this place was once a site of religious significance for local inhabitants. The inscription contains only the letters OK which Maria Savo has interpreted as ὄ(ρος) Κ(υβέλης), though one should bear in mind alternative possibilities, such as ὄ(ρος) Κ(ορυβάντων) and ὄ(ρος) Κ(όρης).10 Notwithstanding such difficulties, it is possible to present a preliminary picture of the cult caves in the Cyclades thanks to materials retrieved from
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Figure 9.1 The Cycladic islands with the location of caves and sites discussed in the text. Map: The Diakron Institute.
several caves in the region. Only eight islands in the archipelago –Amorgos, Antiparos, Delos, Irakleia, Naxos, Pholegandros, Siphnos, and Thera –have thus far been surveyed or excavated to a significant extent and have indeed brought to light materials that allow us to reconstruct cultic practices.
Artificial caves: Delos In the Cycladic archipelago there is one artificially (human-made) constructed cave: that of Mount Kynthos on Delos, which is located at a distance from the sanctuary of Apollo and in the heart of the island; rising 112 m and dominating the surrounding plains, is the most conspicuous elevation on Delos. The
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 191
Figure 9.2 Artificial cave on Mount Kynthos, Delos. Photograph: Author.
mountain saw the veneration of several divinities, including Athena, Zeus, and Hera, whose sanctuary stood at its foot.11 Most of these cults date to earlier periods, and there is evidence for use in the Iron Age. Mount Kynthos is also home to the only cult cave hitherto discovered on Delos, one built out of a natural hollow in the rock, roofed with enormous squared-off granite boulders, and an open rear (Figure 9.2). The artificial cave on Kynthos was built by arranging enormous squared granite boulders around a natural hollow in the rock. Inside, excavations uncovered a large oval lump of granite that served as a base for a statue of Herakles. The style of the object allows us to date it to the Hellenistic period. A round offering table made of white marble was erected about one metre in front of this statue base. Two tables used for banquets were placed on the north and south side of the artificial cave’s terrace. A small circular structure served as an altar at the centre of this terrace.12 The veneration of Herakles in the cave was related to various changes on Delos in the Hellenistic period. Around this time, divinities that had previously not been honoured on the island became the subjects of worship. In addition, the construction of the cave took place around the time that the cult of Zeus and Athena on Mount Kynthos shifted from being one celebrated in the open air to one performed in monumental architecture.13 The cults celebrated at Mount Kynthos were not the main destination of the pilgrims flocking to Delos and were conducted by restricted groups.14 For this reason, we can
192 Erica Angliker posit that the worship of Herakles was probably initiated by one of these small groups, which was responsible for establishing various cults on Delos in the Hellenistic period. From the Roman times onward, multiple versions of the story alleging to an oracular cult of Apollo on Delos circulated. At this point, the cave may have become associated with the omphalos at which divination rites were performed. Nonetheless, as Philippe Bruneau convincingly argued, most such sources consist of literary topoi and rhetorical ploys. They should not be read as historically reliable texts.15
Caves at open sanctuaries: Amorgos In some instances, materials retrieved from scientifically excavated caves have shed light on the nature of cultic practices. Such is the case with a cave located at the sanctuary of Dionysos at Minoa, one of three ancient cities on the island of Amorgos. Contrary to the other two ancient cities of Amorgos (Aigiale and Arkesine), which have received relatively little archaeological attention, Minoa has been partly excavated. The city’s most important cult site was located at the open sanctuary on the acropolis, where a cult flourished from the Geometric until the Roman Imperial period.16 The sanctuary was organized around an oikos furnished with benches meant for banquets (Room K1). These benches were constructed in the Geometric period when the peribolos was established. An expansion in the early Archaic period led to the addition of two rooms: K2 (likewise provided with benches) and K3. Various offerings, remnants of burnt sacrifices and animal bones suggest the worship of a chthonic divinity. Epigraphic evidence from the Early Hellenistic period discloses the identity of the divinity worshipped at the sanctuary: Dionysos. It is possible that the god was worshipped at the sanctuary even earlier, however.17 The sanctuary at the acropolis of Minoa is also associated with a cave at which cults were continuously held from the Bronze Age until Late Antiquity, making this cave an earlier cultic site than the sanctuary. The cave at the sanctuary of Amorgos has been partially explored, but collapsing rocks (Figure 9.3) have made it difficult to conduct systematic research. The identity of the deity worshipped at this cave is unknown. Although Lila Marangou suggested a hero cult (perhaps King Minos, whose name crops up in modern folk narratives), her hypothesis remains speculative.18 Considering the entire context of the sanctuary, the cave and what is known of the worship of Dionysos, the possibility that this god was worshipped here is quite compelling. Specifically, several of the votives found in the cave (e.g. the mask of Silenus and the phallus-spouted kantharoi) are quite reminiscent of those excavated at the sanctuary. Votives such as the phallus-spouted kantharoi are of particular interest as they were probably related to rituals associated with Dionysos, which included phallus processions and a display of ephemeral images.19 Indeed, images, mythology, inscriptions, and archaeological evidence point to the importance of caves (natural and artificial) in the Greek cults of Dionysos, so it makes sense
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 193
Figure 9.3 Entrance of the cave near the sanctuary of Dionysos, Amorgos. After Marangou 2002, 261, fig. 598. Reproduced by permission of the Archaeological Society at Athens.
that this god was worshipped at the cave near the sanctuary of Amorgos.20 Moreover, caves associated with Dionysos appear in several literary references to Dionysiac mystery initiations, and one may speculate that the cave at the sanctuary of Minoa likewise served this purpose. One may also speculate that the cults celebrated in the cave at the sanctuary of Minoa served as a suitable stage for the subterranean rituals related to the anodoi of Dionysos and thus established a line between the cave environment and mystical visions.
Caves outside the Polis: Thera, Siphnos, Naxos, Antiparos, Pholegandros Most of the caves in the Cyclades are located away from the immediate area of the polis and were visited mainly by small groups of the island’s inhabitants. The Cave of Pilarou on Thera, for example, lies just below the hill of the ancient polis on Mesa Vouno. Today, the cave compound includes a large forecourt before the rock chapel of Christos, a complex that was connected in ancient times to a network of roads leading to the ancient polis. Despite the proximity to the polis, the Cave of Pilarou is in an extra-urban space. Ceramic
194 Erica Angliker fragments of Hellenistic date and bones found in the forecourt indicate that animals (pig, sheep, cattle) were slaughtered in this area and cooked in pans. Although the cave yielded ceramics from the sixth century B C E , most of the material dates to the Hellenistic period. The latest ceramics date to the first century B C E .21 The modest number of materials excavated at Pilarou indicate small groups of worshippers. As we shall see below, this was a recurrent phenomenon in all extra-urban space Cycladic caves. Several inscriptions on rocks close to the entrance of the cave reveal Zeus as the deity worshipped at Pilarou. The god was venerated under two epicleses that imply his prerogatives as patron and defender of the city.22 Therefore, the cult of Zeus at the Cave of Pilarou was linked to the polis of ancient Thera where the god was worshipped. Here, Zeus enjoyed a long-lasting cult. In addition to being venerated alone, he was venerated alongside Apollo as his name appears in several spots close to the sanctuary of Apollo Karneios. Due to its location near the ancient polis, the cult practised at the Cave of Pilarou at Thera differed significantly from the ones we find at other extra- urban caves in the Cyclades. A more representative case can be found on the island of Siphnos. Although a survey identified cult related activities in only one specific cave, preliminary surveys of other caves on Siphnos suggest that they have been used as cultic spaces more extensively than we currently know. Future investigations may drastically alter the picture we have today. Indeed, the island is home to a great number of caves (45), of which 15 are located by the sea. More have been spotted in the proximity of its ancient polis. Ancient pottery has been found in the vicinity of five caves. In addition, research has identified several caves associated with Nymphs either toponymically or through folklore tales related to their cult.23 Finally, also spotted in several caves, are niches formed through the extraction of metals. These may once have served for the deposition of votive objects. The one Siphnos cave where cultic activity is attested is located on the northwestern part of the island, at Korakies, close to the bay of Kamares. An inscription (IG XII.5 483) including the word ΝΥΦΕΩΝ dated between the late sixth and the early fifth century BCE was found on the southern slopes of the cave (Figure 9.4) and constitutes the sole material evidence for a cult of the Nymphs on Siphnos.24 How long this cult lasted is unclear, but it may have survived until modern times. After visiting the cave in the nineteenth century, the English explorer James Theodore Bent (1852–1897) reported that the inhabitants of the island still believed that the deities honoured there could possess visitors –particularly those who walked near the cave at midday or midnight –and transform them into nympholeptoi.25 To avoid this danger, the locals left offerings such as bread, honey, milk, and eggs at the crossing of three roads. The cave is small and shallow (only 10 m long) and in ancient times had enough water running through its deeper area. A small natural basin that was once used for the collection of water was discovered inside the cave. Trenches dug inside the cave brought to light drinking vessels (of the Archaic to Classical date) and charred animal bones.26 In ancient Greece the worship of Nymphs
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 195
Figure 9.4 Exterior of the cave at Siphnos, featuring a stalagmite rock inscribed with the word ΝΥΦΕΩΝ. Courtesy Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology– Speleology.
was related to the cults of nature, the deities may have been worshipped as daemons who lived next to water sources in the mountains and protected hunters, shepherds, and their flocks. Material culture assemblages at the cave on Siphnos were limited to fragments of drinking vases and remnants of burnt animals, suggesting that the sacred site was visited primarily by small groups of peasants. It is possible that those who worshipped here came with gifts of honey, milk, olive oil, flowers, and fruits, as these were common offerings to the Nymphs and other divinities associated with the cult of nature.27 A cult cave has also been documented on Irakleia, the second largest one of the Lesser Cyclades, where once again the cult was performed outside the perimeter of the ancient city, probably by small groups of worshippers. Archaeological fieldwork has been conducted on this island in recent years, as part of the Irakleia Caves Exploration project. The researchers focused on investigating the Cyclops/Aghios Ioannis cave complex (Figure 9.5). This complex consists of four caves located 5 km from the port of Irakleia at a height of 1,500 m at a spot that overlooks the sea. Of particular interest between the two is the Cave of Aghios Ioannis, which was in continuous use from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period and has yielded items linked to cultic activities.28 The cave also affords several features of those that Katja Sporn identified as
196 Erica Angliker
Figure 9.5 Irakleia caves. Left: Entrance view of Cyclops Cave. Right: The interior of Aghios Ioannis Cave. Courtesy F. Mavridis.
recurrent in cultic caves: a conspicuous entrance (consisting of a 1.7 x 1.5-m arch), stalactite and stalagmite formations, and small pools in its inner chambers.29 The material excavated in the caves is still under examination by members of the project, but some preliminary conclusions can already be drawn. As with the cave on Antiparos, the Geometric and Archaic periods are the best documented. Items include fine ware assemblages such as cups, skyphoi, hydriae, kraters, oinochoe, and amphorae. Again, as in Antiparos, only a few items here –several vases and three female clay figurines – are of later, i.e. Classical or Hellenistic date. It is impossible to identify the divinity worshipped or the details of the rituals celebrated at the cave. The drinking vases do suggest rituals meals, however. As long as the pantheon of Irakleia in the historical eras is unknown, it is difficult to determine how the cults celebrated in the cave were related to those held in other places of the island. Whatever the case, the cave seems to have been visited by small groups, while the non-luxurious character of the material suggests that they were of the same status (perhaps shepherds). A cult cave frequented by small groups of peasants has also been discovered on the island of Naxos. It too is located at a distance from the ancient polis, along a chain of mountains at the centre of the island that divides north from south (Figure 9.6). Beneath the peak of Mount Zas in the region of Philoti lies an important prehistoric settlement. In historical times, the region became known as a centre of agricultural activities. The tallest peak in this range, Zas (1,004 m), has been traditionally associated with Zeus and is home to an eponymous cave (Figure 9.7). Notwithstanding its name, the cave may not have been connected to the cult of Zeus. The name “Zas” is in fact of modern origin, and a fourth century BCE inscription mentioning Zeus, which
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Figure 9.6 View of the way leading to the Cave of Zas, Naxos, with Cycladic islands on the background. Photograph: Author.
is carved into the rocks of the mountain is too far from the cave to be directly associated with it.30 While no ancient sources refer to any cult of Zeus in any cave on Naxos, the Nymphs and even Dionysos are associated with at least one cult cave on the island.31 Preliminary research on the materials excavated in the cave on Mount Zas provides evidence for activities during the Final Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.32 The lack of ceramics from the Iron Age indicates that the place was not visited during this period. As drinking vessels and large bowls prove, activities resumed in the Archaic and Classical period. During the Hellenistic and Roman period, visits to the cave must have decreased as there are only sporadic finds from these centuries. Sarah Morris, who has studied the pottery found at the cave, reports that the items consisted of ordinary ceramics as well as some fine wares.33 She also noted that there is no evidence that these were used as votives; they contain no graffiti identifying divine recipients and were found with no items typical of cave shrines (e.g. figurines, lamps, astragaloi). Nevertheless, the Zas Cave features several characteristics of cult caves including a pathway to the cave, a water source, a rock altar, and an internal structure.34 The drinking vessels were probably used during ritual meals celebrated by visitors.
198 Erica Angliker
Figure 9.7 Zas Cave, Naxos: View of the entrance with modern door. Photograph: Author.
The cults practised at the cave on Zas may have had some connection with the worship of Zeus, who was celebrated on the mountain, in an open-air sanctuary. An architectural structure associated with an altar has been found here. Pottery discovered at the peak of the mountain dates mainly to the Late Geometric and sub-Geometric period (eight and seventh century B C E ) – precisely those periods that are not represented in the cave.35 The shepherds frequenting Mount Zas would have therefore venerated the divinity at the cave as well as Zeus with similar rituals. As Morris speculated, the cult established at the peak may have migrated to the cave for two centuries and then returned to the mountain (fourth century BC E inscriptions on rocks attest to the worship of Zeus). The cults celebrated on Zas (both inside the cave and on the mountain peak) are linked to shepherds and seem to have been celebrated by small groups of pilgrims. Although the sanctuaries of Demeter and Dionysos on Naxos (both located in rural areas) certainly attracted those who came to the sanctuaries seeking divine protection in agricultural matters, the cults celebrated on Zas were of a completely different nature. Indeed, the cults held on the mountain and in the cave covered certain aspects of shepherds’ lives that are not represented in the practices held at sanctuaries. A look at the epithets of Zeus inscribed on the rocks of the mountain further illuminates the pastoral
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 199 quality of the cults celebrated there. On the natural ascent to the summit are two inscribed rocks referring to the cult of Zeus Melosios. One known since the eighteenth century and located some 500 m above ground reads ὅρος Διὸς Μηλωσίου (“boundary of the sanctuary of Zeus Melosios”). The other, inscribed in the fourth century BC E and discovered in 1999, contains the same words.36 The epithet “Melosios,” which literally means “the one dressed in sheepskin,” is a rare one, and its meaning is complex. The epiclesis has traditionally been interpreted as a designation of the god as patron of shepherds.37 M. Savo, however, has recently proposed that the term be read as “the one wrapped in the skin of a goat” (μηλωτή). Linking the epithet to the Zeus of elevated places and meteorological phenomena, Savo suggests that goatskins held special meaning on Naxos, where shepherds used them to protect themselves from strong winds and the cold winter.38 Furthermore, as Yulia Ustinova has rightly observed, animal skins had magical meaning and may have been used in complex rituals of purification or initiation, rather than simply in the daily life of shepherds.39 One may surmise that the cults celebrated in the cave on Mount Zas likewise involved these aspects of shepherd life. Another important extra- urban Cycladic cave has been identified on Antiparos –an island controlled by the people of Paros. This cave is situated on a site known as Aghios Ioannis Spiliotis, which lies on the hill of Profitis Elias at the south-eastern end of the island (9 km from the modern city of Antiparos), 171 m above sea level (Figure 9.8).40 Directly in front of its vaulted entrance are two small, connected structures: the eighteenth-century
Figure 9.8 View of the bay of Aghios Georghios from the way leading to Antiparos Cave. Courtesy The Diakron Institute.
200 Erica Angliker
Figure 9.9 The eighteenth-century church of Aghios Ioannis Spiliotis (St. John of the Cave) in front of the seventeenth-century church of Zoodochos Pighi under the rock of the cave’s entrance. Photograph: Author.
church of Aghios Ioannis Spiliotis (St. John of the Cave) (Figure 9.9) and the seventeenth-century church of Zoodochos Pighi. The first of these has lent its name not only to the site but also to the cave itself, which is known today as the “Cave of Aghios Ioannis.”41 The cave’s entrance is particularly conspicuous as it consists of a 20 m wide and approximately 8 m tall rock arch. The area has been paved on top of the ancient fill as implied from deposits preserved on the side and top of the descent to the cave (Figure 9.10). Likewise, visible at the entrance is an enormous stalagmite; estimated to be 45 million years old, it is considered the oldest in Europe.42 The interior of the cave, which is richly adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, slopes down precipitously; at intervals the impressive decoration meets with fills from ancient deposits (Figure 9.11). The cave encompasses three principal chambers. The first contains stalactites resembling a waterfall pattern, while the second houses a series of stalagmites, the lowest of which is known as the “Holy Altar.” Unlike the other two, the third terrace holds no conspicuous formations and is called the “Royal Hall” in memory of a visit paid by King Otto in the nineteenth century (Figure 9.12).43 The cave of Antiparos has been frequented since Neolithic times.44 Aside from ceramic remains of Neolithic date, the cave was visited in the Geometric,
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 201
Figure 9.10 Antiparos Cave. Left: View of the entrance. Photograph: Author. Right: Descent to the cave and the ancient fill. Courtesy F. Mavridis.
Figure 9.11 Antiparos Cave: Natural decoration and part of the ancient fill (down right) inside the main chamber. Photograph: Author.
Archaic, and Classical periods. Although cults practised in caves are sometimes difficult to identify, the cave of Antiparos is privileged in that it contains epigraphic evidence. Four inscriptions are reported to have survived until modern times.45 Of these, IG XII.5 478 is the only one that offers a clue of the divinity worshipped at the cave:
202 Erica Angliker
Figure 9.12 Antiparos Cave: Stalagmite column with modern inscriptions. Photograph: Author.
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 203 θεᾷ Ἀρτέμ[ιδι] — —ΟΜ—Ε— —Π— Ἀντίπ[ατρος] — — — Κ— — —Σ ΜΙΛΚ— —Δ— — —Υ Ἀθηναῖο[ς] — — —αρχος, — — — —Μ— — — — — Ὀλυμπ— — The inscription, reportedly written on a stalagmite, was registered by the French explorer Joseph Pitton De Tournefort (1656–1708) when he visited the cave in the eigtheenth century. Although still visible in 1899, Georghios Bakalakis could no longer spot it in 1968 when he visited the cave.46 As the inscription has vanished, we can no longer date it. Whether other inscriptions, now lost, ever existed in the cave is equally difficult to determine. The cave is also covered with numerous modern inscriptions. Some of these refer to the name of Archilochos.47 It is difficult to judge whether these graffiti refer to a visit by the ancient poet to the cave. Whatever the case, links between Archilochos and Apollo are well known on Paros; perhaps the reference to the poet commemorates a link between him and a cult of Apollo with a strong initiatory character (see discussion below).48 Though the cult practised at the Antiparos cave can be identified by an inscription, its cultic space cannot. Ancient Greek religious practices were essentially bound to highly defined spaces in which the sacred and the secular worlds were clearly separated by a temenos.49 Inside such a space stood the altar, the most important structure for conducting the ritual. A cult statue, though important, may or may not have been present.50 Here, the cave of Antiparos is like most ancient Greek cult caves, in that it contains neither evidence for a temenos, nor for any structure that may have served as an altar or a space for a cult statue, although any conspicuous stone could be used as a marker of cult.51 Although the aforementioned second chamber contains a stalagmite known as the “Holy Altar,” this is a modern designation. Furthermore, the cave of Antiparos has several features often encountered in cult caves, including one of the most spectacular entrances in the Cyclades – one from which Despotiko and the surrounding islets are visible. The difficult accessibility and the presence of stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave highlight the aura of the place. Besides the fact that the present-day road did exist then, an ancient visitor would have had to take a boat to the harbour of Aghios Georghios on the east coast of Antiparos, and then walk for several hours to reach the cave. We also need to consider that no polis or settlementlike structure ever developed on Antiparos. Therefore, though the island was quite close to Paros, the lack of dwellings and people would have made it seem remote and removed from civilization.52
204 Erica Angliker Although the cave of Antiparos has never been excavated systematically, preliminary fieldwork conducted by Georghios Bakalakis and recent rescue excavations led by Fanis Mavridis have revealed important finds.53 Inside the cave, Bakalakis recovered ceramic fragments from the Geometric to the Classical period.54 Most of the fragments appear to be from drinking cups – skyphoi and kantharoi. The fragments were discovered in the sediment beneath the stairs that provided access into the chamber and probably once belonged to the area leading from the entrance to the chamber.55 The more recent work led by Mavridis explored the steep area directly before the entrance to the cave’s main chamber. Here, ancient remains were found in a shallow depth. The material assemblage includes fragments of pottery and other materials from prehistoric, Archaic, Classical, Roman, and later periods.56 These ceramics are a key for providing the topography of the cult in this cave and fit in the wider pattern of most cultic rituals celebrated in caves, particular meals, that were held near the entrance.57 Although the evidence cannot shed much light on the nature of the cult practised in the cave, conjectures about the multifarious religious experiences that may have taken place at the site can be made on the basis of an examination of the cave itself. As Y. Ustinova observed, entering a cave means crossing the border between the worlds of the familiar and unknown, a highly significant action that can bring about discomfort, fear, and even claustrophobia. Disorientation, diminished visibility, as well as changes in olfactory and auditory perception make even a short stay in a deep cave very different from the routine experience of most people, notwithstanding their cultural and social diversity.58 All these uncomfortable features of a cave make it frightening and thus appropriate for the performance of rituals of passage. Indeed, as Ustinova points out, the three key components of such a ritual are ensured in a cave: the crossing of a threshold, the trauma of the unfamiliar, and, finally, a return to society in an altered state.59 The fact that caves are suitable environments for rituals of initiation helps us understand the presence of the inscription with its dedication to Artemis (IG XII.5 478) in the Antiparos cave. In ancient Greece, Artemis was traditionally associated with initiatory rites for males and females. According to some scholars, she may have been among the first divinities to receive sacrifices as part of these ceremonies.60 Rites of passage marked the transition from adolescence to adulthood; their main aim was to promote correct behaviour in children and integrate them into a new age group.61 As Vernant observes, Artemis ensured that boys and girls learned the model to which they would one day have to conform.62 While the rites prepared girls for marriage, they also prepared boys for both marriage and war.63 Initiation rites involved intimidation, terrorization, and marginalization –all of which could easily be evoked in the environment of a cave.64
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 205 As mentioned above, caves were singular places in which a variety of religious activities could be held. Besides being appropriate for cults of an initiatory nature, they were also suitable places for a personal type of experience: a personal encounter with the deity. Yulia Ustinova notes that when awake, the human mind needs to be perpetually occupied.65 As caves are sound-proof and contain limited amounts of light, they shelter those inside away from external stimuli, forcing them to concentrate on themselves and enter a state of sensory deprivation. This, in turn, can lead to an altered state of consciousness, hallucinations, and visions. Due to these features, caves have served in many cultures as sites of encounters with divinities or by shamans looking for prophetic visions. In Greece, ancient cave cult and religious feasting in caves have formed a strong social tradition which easily adapted to Christian religion and culture. Caves in all Greek regions host Christian churches and πανηγύρια, feasts that occur in celebration of the venerated saint and take place on top of the ancient feasting cult deposits in the same cave, which were celebrating the ancient deities. The cave of Antiparos is one such cave that continued to serve as a stage for religious practices at the churches of St. John of the Cave and Zoodochos Pighi near its entrance, even centuries after ancient worship. Indeed, caves have been propitious sites for revelations experienced by Christian saints, as demonstrated by the most famous of these, the Revelation of St. John, which reportedly occurred inside the cave on the island of Patmos to which the saint had been banished in 95 C E .66 Turning now to the cave of Antiparos, the importance of the trip and stay in the cave is curiously revealed in the layout of the church of St. John of the Cave. The wall behind the altar, the most sacred place in the church, does not extend to the top but instead leaves the bare rock visible as a reminder of the importance of the cave to the saint’s religious experience in this environment. The small number of ceramic fragments found at the site indicates whatever practices were held at the cave were carried out by individual worshippers visiting the place alone or in small groups. The evidence from Antiparos is consonant with evidence found in caves elsewhere in Greece which revealed few votives. Cases such as the Polis “cave” on Ithaca, for example, where many votives have been discovered on well-made structures inside the cave are rare; in most examples of caves, evidence indicates visits paid by individuals or small groups.67 The simplicity of the inscriptions, usually engraved on rocks in front of caves or on isolated stones, is a witness to the fact that the cults held in them were driven by individual initiative. So far, no inscription of an official nature –in which a polis or any other affiliation can be distinguished, for example –has been encountered at any cave.68 The last cave examined here is Chrysospilia on the island of Pholegandros. Located to the northeast of the Khora of Pholegandros, it is accessible both by sea and land route, although in both cases the approach is dangerous. The cave is accessible via a stepped entrance. The inside is full of stalactites and stalagmites. The ceiling of the cave is densely covered with graffiti painted in vivid colours (Figure 9.13). According to Vivi Vasilopoulou, these graffiti
206 Erica Angliker
Figure 9.13 Chrysospilia Cave: Graffiti on ceiling and wall. After Vasilopoulou 2018, 342, fig. 3.
include the names of men (c. 400) and women dating from the Archaic to the Roman period.69 Most of the graffiti, however, cluster chronologically in the fourth century B C E . It is difficult to understand which deity or deities were worshipped in the cave. An inscription from the ancient city of Pholegandros refers to the worship of Apollo Prostaterios and Artemis. As both divinities are associated with cults that are related to initiatory practices, it is likely that their cult was particularly important at the Cave of Chrysospilia, too. The extraordinary well-preserved graffiti were inscribed by visitors who wanted to commemorate both their presence and successful penetration of a difficult-to-access space. The inscription “epheboi kaloi” indicates an action taken by adolescents to commemorate their names and their physical effort to reach the cave. As Vasilopoulou observed, this is the sole surviving evidence of an engagement by youth in activities linked with initiatory practices in Pholegandros. Climbing to caves with such a goal was not uncommon, and the cave of Antiparos was apparently used for precisely this purpose. The graffiti provide us also with the origins of the visitors from various islands in the Aegean such as Kos, Delos, Rhodos, Crete, Thera, Samos, and Lesbos but also from colonies in Africa and places on the Greek mainland. At Chrysospilia, therefore, we have a unique hub that once attracted people from widely dispersed areas, which is exceptional for the Cyclades and Greece.
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 207
Conclusion Unlike cave sanctuaries in other regions of Greece, those on the Cycladic islands require still much research and exploration. As very few caves in the region have been systematically surveyed or excavated, even a preliminary overview on cult caves and general characteristics and features of these in the archipelago remain difficult to be assessed. One artificial cave on Delos has thus far been identified, the other cave sites explored being natural formations. Only one cave is located inside a sanctuary (Minoa on Amorgos), while most lie outside the perimeter of the ancient poleis. Cycladic caves were nearly always frequented by relatively small groups of visitors. These groups were composed essentially of local islanders (shepherds) who celebrated divinities with simple dedications such as flowers, fruits, and honey. Pottery from three caves on Siphnos, Naxos, and Antiparos point to ritual feasting. From fragments of drinking vessels found in the caves on Siphnos and Antiparos we can conclude that these caves hosted improvised celebrations with ritual significance. The Zas Cave on Naxos, however, contained ceramics related to cooking, which allows us to deduce that ritual meals and meat consumption may have occurred here. A major part of our knowledge on Cycladic caves depends on epigraphic testimony and literary evidence about worshipped gods in every island. According to this evidence together with excavated and surface material findings we can identify the cults of Nymphs, Dionysos, Artemis, Apollo, and Zeus. In most cases, the divinities worshipped possessed prerogatives associated with the fertility of the earth and/or rituals of purification. Two caves –one on Antiparos, the other one on Pholegandros –appear to have been linked to rituals of initiation. Artemis was certainly worshipped in the cave of Antiparos, while Apollo and Artemis were probably worshipped at Pholegandros. Chrysospilia on Pholegandros is a very particular case of initiation rituals hosted there probably because of the isolation and inaccessibility of the place. While the cave on Antiparos was principally used by the local communities of Paros, the one on Pholegandros attracted visitors from various parts of the Aegean and the mainland and constitutes a unique over-regional hub in and beyond the Cyclades.
Acknowledgements I am deeply indebted to Yulia Ustinova for discussing with me various points of this work as well as for continually inspiring my studies on caves. I extend my thanks to Stella Katsarou and Alexander Nagel for their generous invitation to participate in this volume. I thank Fanis Mavridis for sharing with me the results of his investigations on the caves of Antiparos, Irakleia, and Santorini and for his generosity allowing me to publish photos from diverse caves on the Cyclades. I am grateful to Rebecca Sweetman who provided me with information about the churches built by the cave of Antiparos. I am
208 Erica Angliker grateful to Lila Marangou for allowing me to publish a photo from the cave on Minoa. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Archaeological Society of Athens, Vivi Vasilopoulou and Georgios Gavalas. My thanks also goes to Irina Oryshkevic for improving my English and The Diakron Institute for elaborating the map with the location of the caves and also for allowing me to publish some of their photos from Antiparos. Any errors and misinterpretations are my own.
Notes 1 Mavridis et al. 2013. 2 Lawson 2012; David 2017, 615. 3 Petralona Cave in Chalcidiki: Darlas 2014; Klithi Rockshelter and Kastritsa Cave, Epirus: Galanidou 1997; Theopetra Cave, Thessaly: Kyparissi-Apostolika 2006; Franchthi Cave, Argolid: Jacobsen 1981; Kalamakia Cave: Darlas and Lumley 1999; Darlas 2002; Lakonis Cave in Lakonia: Panagopoulou et al. 2002–05. 4 Mavridis and Tankosić 2009; Katsarou and Sampson 2013. 5 Rutkowski and Nowicki 1996; Faro 2013; Maiuri 2017. 6 Angliker 2017. 7 On the concept of “protective shells,” see Mavridis and Tae Jensen 2013. 8 It is important to note that most extant studies on caves in the Mediterranean area examine these sites from a diachronic point of view (for a review see Trimmis 2019). Thus far little attention has been paid to the internal dynamics of the islands. In this respect, the recent work by Mavridis and Trimmis (2020) takes a new direction and offers new perspectives that take the role of caves within the dynamics of small islands into consideration. 9 Tiverios 2001, 126–8. 10 Savo 2004a and 2004b. 11 Plassart 1928, 11–144. 12 Bruneau and Ducat 2005, 283–90. 13 Ibid. 14 Scott 2013, 45–77. 15 Bruneau 1970, 142–61. 16 Marangou 1998. 17 Marangou 2002, 261–2; Angliker 2019. 18 Marangou 1998 and 2002, 261–2. 19 Angliker 2019. 20 Ustinova 2009, 234–5. 21 Kose 1997. 22 Zeus Eupolis (IG XII3 425) dates to the Hellenistic period. Zeus Astymachu (IG XII3 565), dates to the Archaic period. The inscription IG XII3 418 was initially interpreted as a reference to the cult of Demeter and Kore. It is now understood as a reference to the cult of Zeus Damatrios and the kouretes, mythical entities present at the birth of Zeus. See Kose 1997. 23 Samartzidou-Orkopoulou 2005. 24 Ibid. 25 Bent 1885. 26 Mavridis et al. 2018.
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 209 27 Ustinova 2009, 250– 64; Larson 2001, 121– 5; Pache 2011; Fabiano 2013; Wagman 2016. 28 Mavridis et al. 2018. 29 Sporn 2010 and 2013. 30 Morris 2007. 31 Porph. 20; IG XII5, 53 names the “Inner Nymphs” (Nymphai Mychiai). See also Larson 2007. Early travelers associated ancient “bacchants” and “orgies” with the Cave of Zas: Tournefort 1717, 235. 32 Morris 2007. 33 Ibid. 34 Sporn 2010. 35 Morris 2007. 36 Savo 2004a, 107–9. 37 LSJ, s.v. Μῆλώσιος: “Zeus guardian of the sheep”; Frisk, 1991, s.v. μῆλov: “Der in ein Schaffell gehüllte”; Chantraine 1974, s.v. μῆλov: “peu de mouton.” 38 Savo 2004a. 39 Ustinova 2009, 189– 90 notes that in Diod. 5. 64, Pythagoras descends into the Idaean Cave on Crete. “Having been purified with a thunder-stone by one of the Dactyls, Pythagoras first lay prostrate for a whole day, his head wrapped in the skin of a black ram. Then he entered the cave for almost a month, and on his return performed funeral rites for Zeus.” 40 Mavridis 2007–08. 41 I thank Rebecca Sweetman for clarification on the dates of the churches. 42 Mavridis 2007–08. 43 Ibid. 44 Bakalakis 1969; Mavridis 2007–08. 45 See IG XII.5 476, IG XII.5 477, IG XII.5 478 and IG XII.5 479. On the ancient inscriptions in the cave of Antiparos, see Bakalakis 1969, 127, note 3. In 1899 the inscriptions were no longer visible. 46 Bakalakis 1969. 47 Mavridis 2007–08. 48 On the connections between the cults of Apollo and Archilochos, see Clay 2004 and 2008; Ornaghi 2009; Kimmel-Clauzet 2013, 54–62. 49 Sinn 2005. 50 Pirenne-Delforge 2010. 51 Sporn 2007. 52 On the concept of remote and close, see Constantakopoulou 2016. 53 Bakalakis 1969; Mavridis 2007–08. 54 Ibid. 55 Bakalakis 1969. 56 Mavridis 2007–08. 57 Sporn 2010. 58 Ustinova 2009, 32. 59 Whitehouse 2001; Ustinova 2009, 32–3. 60 De Polignac 1995; Jensen 2009. 61 Lonsdale 1993, 111–2. 62 Vernant 1981a, 111–2. 63 Vernant 1981b, 23. 64 Vidal-Naquet 1986; Larson 2007.
210 Erica Angliker 65 Ustinova 2009, 32–52. 66 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3.18.1; 3.20.8–9. I am grateful to Y. Ustinova who drew my attention to the importance of revelation in this cave. See Ustinova 2009, 36. 67 Sporn 2010, 559–61. 68 Morgan 2007; Sporn 2010, 563 and notes 24 and 25. 69 Vasilopoulou 2018.
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Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 211 David, B. 2017. Cave Art. London: Thames & Hudson. Fabiano, D. 2013. La nympholepsie entre possession et paysage. In Perception et construction du divin dans l’antiquité, eds. P. Borgeaud and D. Fabiano, 165–95. Recherches et Rencontres 31. Geneva: Droz. Faro, E. 2013. Caves in the ritual landscape of Minoan Crete. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 166–75. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Galanidou, N. 1997. Home is Where the Hearth Is: The Spatial Organisation of the Upper Palaeolithic Rockshelter Occupations at Klithi and Kastritsa in Northwest Greece. BAR International Series 687. Oxford. Jacobsen, T. W. 1981. Franchthi cave and the beginning of settled village life in Greece. Hesperia 50, 303–19. Jensen, M. S. 2009. Artemis in Homer. Acta Hyperborea 12, 51–60. Katsarou, S. and Sampson, A. 2013. Perspectives of symbolism and ritualism for the Late Neolithic communities at Sarakemos Cave, Boeotia. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 142–52. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Kimmel-Clauzet, F. 2013. Morts, tombeaux et culte des poètes grecs. Étude de la survie des grands poètes des époques archaïque et classique en Grèce ancienne. Pessac: Ausonius. Kose, A. 1997. Die Höhle Pilarou beim Felsheiligtum Christos. In Das dorische Thera 5: Stadtgeschichte und Kultstätten am nördlichen Stadtrand, ed. W. Hoepfner, 73– 150. Berlin: Mann. Kyparissi-Apostolika, N., ed. 2006. Σπήλαιο Θεόπετρας. Δώδεκα Χρόνια Ανασκαφών και Ἐρευνας 1987–1998. Athens. Larson, J. 2007. Greek Nymphs: Myth, Cult, Lore. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lawson, A. J. 2012. Painted Caves. Palaeolithic Rock Art in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lonsdale, S. H. 1993. Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Maiuri, A., ed. 2017. Antrum: Riti e simbologie delle grotte nel Mediterraneo antico. Roma: Morcelliana. Mavridis, F. 2007– 08. Salvage Excavation in the cave of Antiparos, Cyclades: Prehistoric pottery and miscellaneous finds. A preliminary report. Aegean Archaeology 9, 7–34. Mavridis, F. and Tae Jensen, J. 2013. Preface. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, xx–xxi. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Mavridis, F., Tae Jensen, J. and Kormazopoulou, L. 2013. Introduction: Stable places – Changing perception: Cave archaeology in Greece. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 1–16. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Mavridis, F., Tankosić, Ž. and Kotsonas, A. 2018. The Irakleia Caves Exploration Project and the importance of cave research for archaeology of the Cyclades: A brief note. In Cycladic Archaeology: New Approaches and Discoveries, eds. E. Angliker and J. Tully, 249–60. Oxford: Archaeopress. Mavridis, F. and Tankosić, Ž. . 2009. The Hagia Triada Cave, sourthern Euboea: Finds and implications of the earliest human habitation in the area. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 9(2), 47–59.
212 Erica Angliker Mavridis, F. and Trimmis, K. P. 2020. Recording Santorini’s subterranean landscape: A noninvasive approach to the investigation of cave use strategies in insular environments. The Journal of Island and Costal Archaeology 15(2), 1–23. Marangou, L. 1998. The Acropolis sanctuary of Minoa on Amorgos. Cult practice from the 8th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D . In Ancient Greek Cult Practice from the Archaeological Evidence: Proceedings of the Fourth International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult, Organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, 22–24 October 1993, ed. R. Hägg, 9–25. Stockholm: Svenska Institutet i Athen: Paul Aströms Förlag. Marangou, L. 2002. Αμοργός Ι. Η Μινώα. Η πόλις, ο λιμήν και η μείζων περιφέρεια. Vivliotheke tes en Athenais Archaiologikes Hetaireias 228. Athens: The Archaeological Society at Athens. Morgan, C. 2007. An early Archaic sphinx from the Polis cave, Ithaka (Stavros 59). In Essays in Classical Archaeology for Eleni Hatzivassiliou (1977–2007), ed. D. C. Kurtz, 35–40, Oxford: Archaeopress. Morris, S. 2007. Apollo, Dionysos and Zeus: On the sacred landscapes of ancient Naxos. In Αμύμονα έργα: Τιμητικός τόμος για τον καθηγητή Βασίλη Κ. Λαμπρινουδάκη, eds. E. Simantoni-Bournia, A. Laimou, L. G. Mendoni and N. Kourou, 96–108. Athens: University of Athens. Ornaghi, M. 2009. La lira, la vacca e le donne insolenti. Contesti di ricezione e promozione della figura e della poesia di Archiloco dall’arcaismo all’ellenism. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso. Pache, C. O. 2011. A Moment’s Ornament. The Poetics of Nympholepsy in Ancient Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Panagopoulou, E., Runnels, C., Tsartsidou, G., Murray, P., Allen, S., Mulen, K. and Tourloukis, E. 2002–05. Έρευνα για τον εντοπισμό μεσολιθικών θέσεων στην περιοχή Κάντια Αργολίδας. Athens Annals of Archaeology 35–38, 23–36. Plassart, A. 1928. Les sanctuaires et les cultes du Mont Cynthe. Paris: De Boccard. Pirenne-Delforge, V. 2010. Priests and ‘cult statues’: How far are they unnecessary? In Divine Images and Human Imaginations in Ancient Greece and Rome, ed. I. Mylonopoulos, 121– 41. Religions in the Graeco- Roman World 170. Leiden/ Boston: Brill. De Polignac, F. 1995. La naissance de la cité grecque: Cultes, espace et société VIIIe- VIIe siècles avant J.-C. Paris: La Découverte. Rutkowski, B. and Nowicki, K. 1996. The Psychro Cave and Other Sacred Grottoes in Crete. Warsaw: Art and Archaeology. Samartzidou-Orlopoulou, S. 2005. Ερευνώτας τις λατρείες και τα σπήλαια της Σίφνου. In Πρακτικά B’ Διεθνούς Σιφναϊκού Συμποσίου, Σίφνος, 27–30 Ιουνίου 2002. Εις μνήμην Νικολάου Βερνίκου-Ευγενίδη, 252–70. Athens: Syndesmos Sifnaikon Meleton. Savo, M. B. 2004a. Culti, Sacerdozi e Feste delle Cicladi dell’età arcaica all’età romana. Tivoli: Tored. Savo, M. B. 2004b. Lo Zeus con μηλωτή: Una nuova iscrizione dal monte Zas di Nasso. In Ricerche di antichità e tradizione classica, ed. Ε. Lanzillotta, 149–71. Tivoli: Tored. Scott, M. 2013. Space and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Cambridge/ New York: Cambridge University Press. Sinn, U. 2005. Kultorte. Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum IV, 1–4.
Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves 213 Sporn, K. 2007. Höhlenheiligtümer in Griechenland. In Kult und Kommunikation. Medien in Heiligtümern der Antike, eds. C. Frevel and H. von Hesberg, 39–62. Wiesbaden: Reichert. Sporn, K. 2010. Espace naturel et paysages religieux: Les grottes dans le monde grec. Revue de l’histoire des religions 4, 553–71. Sporn, K. 2013. Mapping Greek sacred caves: Sources, features, cults. In Stable Places and Changing Perceptions: Cave Archaeology in Greece, eds. F. Mavridis and J. Tae Jensen, 202–13. BAR International Series 2558. Oxford: Archaeopress. Stratouli, G. 2005. Symbolic behavior at places of social activity beyond the domestic area in the Ionian Neolithic. Documenta Praehistorica 32, 123–32. Tiverios, M. A. 2001. Η θρησκεία στην Άνδρο. In Πρακτικά Β΄ Διεθνούς Κυκλαδολογικού Συνεδρίου, Θήρα, 31 Αυγούστου–3 Σεπτεμβρίου 1995, 117– 34. Athens: Etaireia Kykladikon Meleton. Tournefort, J. P. 1717. Relation d’un voyage au Levant. Fait Par Ordre Du Roy. Lyon/ Paris: Imprimerie Royale. Trimmis, K. P. 2019. Recording Archaeological Senses in Subterranean Archaeological Sites. Evidence from Caves in the Western Balkans and Greece. PhD thesis, Cardiff University. Ustinova, Y. 2009. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind. Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Vasilopoulou, V. 2018. The island of Pholegandros and the graffiti of Chrysospilia cave. In Cycladic Archaeology: New Approaches and Discoveries, eds. E. Angliker and J. Tully, 339–45. Oxford: Archaeopress. Vernant, J. P. 1981a. Les origines de la pensée grecque. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Vernant, J. P. 1981b. Théorie générale du sacrifice et mise à mort dans la thusia grecque. In Le sacrifice dans l’antiquité: Huit exposés suivis de discussions, eds. J. Rudhardt and O. Reverdin, 1– 21. Entretien sur l’Antiquité Classique 27. Vandoeuvres, Genève: Fondation Hardt. Vidal-Naquet, P. 1986. The Black Hunter. Forms of Thought and Forms of Society in the Greek World. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Wagman, R. M. 2016. The Cave of the Nymphs at Pharsalus. Studies on a Thessalian Country Shrine. Leiden: Brill. Whitehouse, R. D. 2001. A tale of two caves: The archaeology of religious experience in Mediterranean Europe. In The Archaeology of Cult and Religion, eds. P. F. Biehl and F. Bertemes, 161–7. Budapest: Archaeolingua.
10 Grottoes and the construction of cult in southern Italy Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Caves are universally ascribed a numinous force. The performance of rite makes tangible the attribution of the supernatural to an underground chamber. For the study of this phenomenon in ancient Greece, a wealth of written testimony associates caves with specific deities and offers insights into the rites carried out within the caverns themselves.1 The sources show that caves and grottoes, sacred to Zeus, Apollo, Demeter, Dionysus, Nymphs, and other divine figures, permeate the landscape of Greece. Archaeological excavation has moreover yielded physical evidence for the practice of cult at many of these sites. In the area of southern Italy known as Magna Graecia, the picture is less well documented by ancient authors.2 One must rely upon archaeology to fill in the gaps. The following survey of caves, grottoes, and rock shelters where cultic rites were carried out depends primarily on archaeological evidence which gives impartial voice to the religious practices and beliefs of not only the Greek communities but also the indigenous populations that once inhabited southern Italy. The systematic study of the architectural, artefactual, botanical, and faunal remains that make up the archaeological record offers an opportunity for the material culture to tell the stories of these indigenous groups.3 Space does not permit a comprehensive review of all caverns where cult was practiced in southern Italy, and those in Sicily must be entirely omitted.4 Instead, a sample of cave sites reflecting distinctive patterns of worship is offered here.5 Focus falls first on the eastern coast of the Italian peninsula along the Adriatic Sea. It then moves to the interior of the regions of ancient Apulia and Lucania. The caves along the coast and in the interior served the religious needs primarily of local indigenous communities, but they often provided a sacred space for encounters also with Greeks from nearby Italiote city-states or even from Greece itself. Finally, a few considerations are offered on the practice of cults associated with grottoes at the Italiote settlements that Greeks founded at Satyrion, Locri Epizephyrii, and Metaponto. While most caves where sacred rites were performed in southern Italy are natural geological formations, some may have been artificially enhanced. The effect that the importance of a cave setting had on the creative imagination of a community of worshippers will also be explored.
Grottoes and the construction of cult 215
List of Sites 1. Leuca, Grotta Porcinara 2. Rocavecchia, Grotta della Poesia 3. Oria, Monte Papalucio 4. Garaguso, Grotte delle Fontanelle 5. Satyrion, Sorgente 6. Locri Epizephyrii, Grotta Caruso 7. Locri Epizephyrii, Grotta Imperatore 8. Galatro, Grotta di Galatro 9. Cerchiara, Grotta delle Ninfe Lusiadi 10. Sassano, Grotta del Pino 11. Polla, Grotta di Polla 12. Pertosa, Grotta Pertosa 13. Monticchio, Rionere in Vulture 14. Melfi, Spinella
15. Peschici, Grotta Manaccore 16. Vieste, Grotta di Venere Sosandra 17. Martina Franca, Grotta Papaciro 18. Ostuni, Grotta di S. Maria D’Agnano 19. Ceglie Messapico, Grotta di Monte Vicoli 20. Ceglie Messapico, Grotta Abate Nicola 21. Villa Castelli, Grotta di Monte Scotano 22. Torre dell’Orso, Grotta di S. Cristoforo 23. Castro, Grotta Zinzulusa 24. Ruffano, Grotta della Trinità 25. Nardò, Grotta di Capelvenere 26. Manduria, Fonte Pliniano
Figure 10.1 Caves and grottoes with evidence for ritual practice from the Iron Age or later periods. Map: M. Holobosky.
216 Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Coastal sites Grotta Porcinara, Leuca Most natural caves along the coast of the Adriatic Sea are found in the karstic topography of the Gargano and Salentine peninsulas. The Grotta Porcinara on the promontory of Leuca (Figure 10.1, No. 1) is, on the other hand, carved artificially out of a rock face. The grotto forms part of a larger sanctuary which rises from the sandy beach of a bay on three terraces linked by rock-cut stairs (Figure 10.2).6 The grotto consists of three chambers that have been intentionally cut into the rock at the level of the middle terrace. A circular ash altar, or eschara, bound initially by a patchy ring of varied stones was created in a natural depression at the end of the eighth century
Figure 10.2 Plan of sanctuary with reconstruction of eschara at Grotta Porcinara, Leuca. After Mastronuzzi 2005, 69, fig. 14.
Grottoes and the construction of cult 217 B C E . Later, a more regular, circular boundary was constructed. During the sixth century B C E , a low rectangular wall of squared blocks enclosed the entire area of the altar. A fragment of an anchor, made of a non-local stone, was found in the eschara, while a cippus, connected to indigenous religious practice, was reused as a block in the second, more uniform border that encircled the altar.7 Excavations recovered local Messapian pottery of the late eighth and seventh centuries BCE as well as proto- Corinthian, and some imitation Corinthian, kylikes, skyphoi, oinochoai, and transport amphorae, and even Cycladic hydriai in the area of the ash altar, mixed with bones of sheep or goat. In at least one instance, the bones had been broken and burnt inside a Messapian olla. In front of the grotto, finds included faunal remains of sheep/ goat as well as ceramics of the sixth and fifth centuries B C E : Laconian kraters, Corinthian skyphoi, Attic black-and red-figure and black-gloss pottery, Ionic- type B2 cups, South Italian red-figure vessels, numerous Messapian craters and trozzelle, and other locally made vessels including miniature votive vases. The material remains suggest that drinking of wine, pouring of libations, and animal sacrifices were rites performed at the sanctuary. Three fragments of terracotta figurines portraying a female figure and one representing an animal (all dating to the fourth and third centuries B C E ) likewise call attention to the cultic character of the site. The recovery of hundreds of terracotta weights for fishing nets from the deposit in front of the grotto may similarly point to the repeated rite of dedicating tools that were vital to the livelihood of fishermen who frequented the sanctuary. The pitfalls of interpreting the presence of imported pottery and other objects made at a specific centre or ethnic region as evidence for the presence of individuals from the centre or region where the objects were originally fashioned are well known. Of pronounced significance, therefore, are dedicatory inscriptions, in both Messapic and Greek, written on pottery dating from the mid-sixth to fourth centuries BC E as well as other inscriptions in Greek and Latin, which date from the Late Republic to the early third century C E , that are cut into the walls of the grotto itself.8 The Greek alphabet of Taras was adopted by the local Messapian population to record their own language, which is thought to be related to Illyrian spoken on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. The Messapic inscriptions at Grotta Porcinara invoke Zis Batas, who may be an indigenous god of lightning,9 while the Greek inscriptions name Zeus Batios. Latin inscriptions refer to Iuppiter Batius. The inscriptions pertain mostly to mariners. Two brothers, for instance, offer the anchor of their ship to Iuppiter in thanks for their safe arrival on land after being saved from a storm.
Grotta della Poesia, Rocavecchia In a similar manner, votive inscriptions in Messapic, Greek, and Latin carved into the walls of the Grotta della Poesia at Rocavecchia on the northern side
218 Rebecca Miller Ammerman of the Salentine peninsula (Figure 10.1, No. 2) testify to both the sacred character attributed to the natural grotto and the ethnic identities of visitors who propitiated the deities associated with the grotto.10 A fresh-water spring feeds the multiple-chambered cavern that lies directly on the sea. The walls of the grotto are carpeted for over six-hundred square metres by multiple layers of inscriptions. The earliest are visual figures of prehistoric (perhaps Bronze Age) date, but most are verbal texts in Messapic while others are in Latin. Only one inscription in the Greek language has been distinguished. Investigations, directed by Cosimo Pagliara in the 1980s, show that the textual inscriptions date from the late fourth century B C E to the second century C E . The main god to whom the inscriptions refer is Taotor Andirah(h)as, who possibly possesses a chthonic character. The goddess Dama (perhaps the Messapic name for Demeter) is associated with the god. Here too Zis is sometimes mentioned as the guarantor of a rite and is occasionally associated with Venas, the Messapic name for Venus. Pagliara’s painstaking analysis of the inscriptions seems to indicate that both men and women from various Messapian settlements, often from far away, participated in the rites practiced at the Grotta della Poesia. The inscriptions thus offer precious evidence to document the long-distance pilgrimage of individuals from the interior to this suggestive underground cult site on the coast. The evidence for religious behaviour at the Grotta della Poesia and at other coastal caves which lie near safe harborage and a fresh-water spring, such as Grotta di S. Cristoforo at Torre dell’Orso (Figure 10.1, No. 22) and Grotta di Venere Sosandra near Vieste (Figure 10.1, No. 16) on the Gargano peninsula, shows that the cults tend to honour a male deity and are of interest not only to members of the native populations but also to mariners.11 The connection to seafaring is especially pronounced by the material finds of weights from fishing nets and an imported anchor at the sanctuary at the Grotta Porcinara at Leuca. It is repeatedly confirmed by the inscriptions in the artificial grotto: sailors, whether they called upon the god as Zis Batas, Zeus Batios, or Iuppiter Batius, all expressed devotion to the god who presided over the shrine and whose protection from thunderstorms at sea was greatly desired. It has been suggested that as early as the late eighth century B C E , the sanctuary took on the character of an emporion, where exchanges between Messapians and Greeks could take place under the protection of the lightning-wielding patron of the cult. The routes that ancient ships followed from the western shores of Greece to Italy underscore the strong attraction that these cult places may have held for seafarers. In addition to providing fresh water and shelter from storms, the Grotta della Poesia and Grotta di S. Cristoforo lie at the western end of the shortest crossing of the Adriatic from Baia D’Orso on the western coast of Greece. Leuca with its sanctuary at Grotta Porcinara was an obligatory landfall for ships rounding the heel of the Italian peninsula.12
Grottoes and the construction of cult 219
Interior sites Monte Papalucio, Oria Moving away from the coast to consider cults practiced in caverns in the interior of the Salentine peninsula, emphasis will be placed on the sanctuary of Monte Papalucio at Oria (Figure 10.1, No. 3). The settlement of Oria is located at a strategic position at the centre of the crossing of the isthmus between Brindisi and Taranto, which may have facilitated contact and exchanges between the Messapian and Italiote Greek communities of Apulia and nearby Lucania. The sanctuary of Monte Papalucio is located outside the urban centre of Oria.13 It occupies a series of terraces crowned by a natural grotto that has been artificially enlarged over time (Figure 10.3). Sacrificial hearths and votive deposits were found at several points near the walls of the terraces. They provide evidence for ritual activity from the second quarter of the sixth century to the mid-third century B C E . In the fourth and third centuries BC E , structures built on the terraces were equipped with benches and may have served as dining rooms. In the first half of the third century B C E , within the collapsed walls of one of these structures, miniature vases and one-handled cups were placed upside-down along with the remains of animal sacrifices and carbonized offerings of food on top of the accumulated ashes and ceramic offerings of a large eschara.14
Figure 10.3 Reconstructive image of rites practiced during Archaic period inside cave at Monte Papalucio, Oria. After Mastronuzzi 2013, 224, fig. 171.
220 Rebecca Miller Ammerman According to the excavators, more than 80 percent of the ceramics from the Archaic phase of the sanctuary’s life are local wares. The rest was imported from Corinth, Attica, and primarily the Italiote Greek city-states of Taras and Metaponto. One vessel bears an inscription in the Laconian dialect. One- handled cups predominate, but kylikes, skyphoi, hydriai, lekanai, and olle are well represented. The hydria is the most common shape among the miniature votive vessels. In addition, the majority of the many Archaic terracotta figurines portray an enthroned female deity and belong to either Tarantine or Metapontine mould series. A few coins from Metaponto, Sybaris, Caulonia, and Croton have also been recovered.15 Votive gifts include personal ornaments in precious metals, amber, and coral. Of particular interest is the presence of iron rings that may have been fetters dedicated by slaves who had gained their freedom.16 The preservation of a carbonized looped breadstick (an ancestor of Puglian taralli) is remarkable.17 While the evidence of inscriptions, pottery, terracottas, and coins suggests that Greek individuals may have frequented this sanctuary within Messapian territory beginning in the sixth century BCE , it underscores the ongoing debate about the extent to which indigenous populations incorporated Greek rites and material culture in their own religious practices.18 At the same time, the material record calls attention to the archaeologist’s over-reliance on Greek forms of ritual behaviour for identifying the performance of cult in a non- Greek context. Notwithstanding the importance of these concerns, certain artefacts do seem to point toward rites and symbols associated with the worship of Demeter among Greek populations. These include kernoi (a specialized ritual vessel) as well as the symbol of a cross-torch painted on the handles of several hydriai.19 In addition, the faunal remains, many of which show burning, are almost exclusively piglets, a sacrificial animal characteristic of thesmophoric rites in honour of Demeter.20 Again, inscriptions offer compelling testimony about the character of the deity propitiated in the grotto and on the terraces of the sanctuary by the local Messapian community. An inscription on a hydria of the sixth century BC E refers to the goddess as Matar. From the fourth century B C E , inscriptions refer to the goddess Damatra.21 Both names are thought to correspond to the Greek Demeter. And indeed, the cult does manifest chthonic aspects with an interest in the fertility of earth and fecundity of animals and humans that is appropriate to Demeter’s sphere of concerns.22 Grotte delle Fontanelle, Garaguso At Garaguso in the interior of Basilicata (Figure 10.1, No. 4), archaeological investigations at two adjacent properties, Altieri and Autera, recovered pottery, terracotta figurines, and a variety of metal and other objects associated with small natural grottoes on a hillside that is well fed by springs.23 The character of the landscape is reflected clearly in the district’s name, “Grotte delle
Grottoes and the construction of cult 221 Fontanelle.” The artefacts appear to come from votive deposits that have been disturbed by the partial collapse of the vault of a grotto in the Altieri property and the landslides that afflict the steep slopes of the hilly terrain. A comprehensive analysis by Silvia Bertesago and Valentina Garaffa of the excavations that were carried out separately in the properties of Altieri and Autera indicates that both areas belong to a single sanctuary.24 Fragments of impasto and matt-painted geometric pottery document local frequentation in the Bronze Age and later Iron Age of the eighth and seventh centuries B C E . Convincing evidence for ritualized behaviour at the grottoes, on the other hand, shows that there are two periods of sustained religious activity at Grotte delle Fontanelle. The first begins during the second half of the sixth century and continues through the third quarter of the fifth century B C E ; the second runs throughout the fourth and third centuries, ending by the second century BC E . Concentrations of ceramics, terracotta figurines, and metal objects, including weapons (especially in miniature), and so-called “temple keys” speak to dedicatory rituals. Pottery from both phases of the cult’s history presents forms belonging to Greek traditions. In the Archaic period, for instance, numerous kotylai and a few lekythoi are imitations of Corinthian wares but were produced at such Italiote poleis of Magna Graecia as Metaponto. Only a handful of pots made in Attica ever reached the sanctuary at Grotte delle Fontanelle. Whether of Italiote Greek or local indigenous production, most of the vessels from the sanctuary (predominantly one-handled cups) could be used for drinking as well as for pouring a libation. Others, such as phialai, were more specifically intended for rites involving liquid offerings. Closed vessels for storing and pouring liquids as well as smaller containers for oil are also represented. Once more, the ubiquitous presence of miniature pottery, with a predilection for krateriskoi, skyphoi, and phialai, points to the votive character of the assemblages. Locally made cooking and dining wares attest furthermore to the preparation and consumption of meals at the sacred setting of grottoes and springs. In addition, three hearths have been distinguished that belong to the second phase of the sanctuary’s life.25 The practice of cult is highlighted by numerous terracotta protomai of female heads and figurines portraying an enthroned female or a standing figure of either sex. With the exception of two hand-modelled figurines, the terracottas appear to derive from mould series fashioned at Italiote poleis, such as Taras, Metaponto, Siris/Herakleia, and Poseidonia/Paestum. While a female figure is the generic subject of most of the archaic protomai and figurines, there are a few perhaps telling exceptions among the statuettes dating to the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. One represents a standing female kourotrophos. A handful of others portray either a female or male figure carrying a piglet as a sacrificial offering (Figure 10.4).26 A terracotta female bust holds not only a piglet but also the cross-torch that is closely linked to the imagery of Demeter at the Greek centres on the Ionian Gulf.27 It is worth noting in this context that pigs, some extremely young and
222 Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Figure 10.4 Terracotta figurine of female holding piglet from Grotte delle Fontanelle, Garaguso. After Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 391, fig. 44, n. 459.
even fetal, account for almost one-third of the faunal material recovered from Grotte delle Fontanelle.28 Sheep/goat are present in a slightly larger quantity. Among the metal finds, a bronze phiale, personal ornaments, and several so-called “temple keys” associated with the feminine sphere as well as weapons, including miniature spears and axes, expressing masculine concerns29 offer compelling evidence for the performance of dedicatory rites. A dozen coins from Sybaris, Metaponto, Taras, Croton, Caulonia, and Poseidonia, dating mostly to the Archaic period of the sanctuary’s life, may likewise have served as votive offerings. Although the ethnic identity of a worshipper who may have dedicated any one of the coins at the sanctuary remains unknown, the array of different currencies exemplifies the widespread networks of contact and exchange between the indigenous community at Garaguso in the interior of Lucania and the Greek city-states on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts of Italy.30 The geographical location of Garaguso, lying not only near the borders between ancient Messapia, Peucetia, and Oenotria (the area that came under
Grottoes and the construction of cult 223 the control of Oscan-speaking Lucanian tribes by the mid-fifth century B C E ) but also at the intersection of routes that traversed the interior of the Italian peninsula linking Greek settlements on the Ionian Gulf and Tyrrhenian Sea, facilitated the meeting of individuals from different communities in southern Italy. As was the case with Oria, Garaguso marked an important node of communication. The sanctuary of Grotte delle Fontanelle, like that at Monte Papalucio and the coastal shrines of Grotta Porcinara and Grotta della Poesia, may have thus provided a haven, protected by the deity propitiated at the grottoes and springs of the hillside, for interactions –be they of a mercantile, political, or other nature –between different ethnic groups. Regrettably, unlike the three sanctuaries in Messapia, the compelling testimony of dedicatory inscriptions for the identity of the patron of the cult is lacking. Considerations on the character of the cult An environment of caverns and springs characterizes the natural settings of all these shrines which served primarily the needs of the indigenous inhabitants, who seem to have eschewed the conspicuous expression of civic piety through the construction of monumental temples, a custom much favoured instead by the Greeks. Nevertheless, the Italic people did adopt components of the material culture of the Greek communities to use in the performance of cultic rites. In particular, the pottery and votive terracottas derive from a repertoire of Greek forms that were current at the Italiote centres of southern Italy. To what extent the rites that employed these objects at an indigenous sanctuary were closely modelled on Greek practice or were instead modified to suit the needs and beliefs of the local community is however difficult to ascertain. It is therefore challenging to make inferences about the character of a non-Greek cult based upon conventional interpretations of the same or similar material objects when they occur within the context of a Greek sanctuary. In the case of Grotte delle Fontanelle, the landscape of the sacred space suggests that the deity propitiated among the grottoes and springs possessed a chthonic personality concerned with agricultural, pastoral, and human fertility and reproduction. The figured terracottas dedicated at the sanctuary potentially offer further insight. The generic imagery presented by the bulk of the materials indicates that a goddess was worshipped by both men and women. Only a small number of terracottas, dating to the later fifth and fourth centuries B C E , which portray votaries holding a piglet for sacrifice or a female bust holding both a piglet and a cross-torch, point to more specific traits of the goddess’ personality. At the Greek poleis where the mould series for these terracottas were originally fashioned, the imagery was intended to reflect aspects of the worship of Demeter and her daughter, Kore/Persephone. The high incidence of pigs, especially of young age, among the osteological finds from Grotte delle Fontanelle bolsters the suitability of
224 Rebecca Miller Ammerman the imagery of the terracottas as a reflection of sacrificial rites performed also at the indigenous sanctuary. It is moreover worth noting that piglets likewise figure among the faunal evidence from the sanctuary at Grotta di S. Maria d’Agnano at Ostuni (Figure 10.1, No. 18), where inscriptions name Demeter as the recipient of votive offerings.31 Perhaps at Grotte delle Fontanelle too, as at Monte Papalucio and Grotta di S. Maria d’Agnano, the cult observances were directed toward a goddess whose chthonic persona and concerns with fertility could be assimilated by the local inhabitants to those of Demeter.
Sites at Greek poleis Sorgente, Satyrion (Taras) Satyrion lies on a peninsula between the Bay of Porto Saturo and the Bay of Porto Perone, some ten kilometres south of modern Taranto (Figure 10.1, No. 5). Historically and mythically, the site is closely linked to the Spartan apoikia of Taras. Along with their physical proximity, the archaeological evidence suggests for both sites a foundation date in the late eighth century B C E . Their toponyms reflect a mythic tradition of kinship: the maiden or Nymph, Satyria, having been raped by Poseidon, gives birth to the hero Taras; in another version of the myth, Satyria is described as the daughter of Minos and the wife of Taras.32 The sanctuary at Sorgente, as its name indicates, centres on an abundant spring whose waters are carried by a stream into the Bay of Porto Saturo.33 The spring is associated with grottoes, whose roofs have now fallen completely into ruin. Clear evidence for the practice of cult at the spring dates from the Archaic period of the Greek settlement. Votive objects abound. Numbering more than 15,000, they show that the life of the sanctuary goes back to at least the second half of the seventh century B C E and thrived until the end of the third century BCE , when the shrine was destroyed, probably by the Romans during their capture of Taras in 209 B C E . Soon after the Roman conquest, several votive deposits and a stone treasure box, or thesaurus, appear to attest to the closure of ritual activity at the spring. Five square structures on the irregular terrace in front of the grottoes gave architectural expression to the cult. The oldest dates to the second half of the sixth century BC E . Another of more refined isodomic masonry may have served as an oikos for the cult and dates to the fifth, or more probably, to the fourth century BCE . Three buildings of larger dimension with an offset doorway may have served as hestiatoria, or dining rooms, and date from the fifth century B C E onward. The excavation of large votive deposits yielded a wide range of pottery belonging to the Archaic phase of the sanctuary. The imported vessels include early and middle Corinthian ceramics, Laconian ware, and Attic black-figure (including Panathenaic amphorae) and red-figure pottery.34 Ionic-type B2
Grottoes and the construction of cult 225 cups, miniature votive pots, and other locally produced vessels are likewise attested. There is a prevalence of skyphoi, kotylai, kylikes, and other cups for drinking and pouring libations and plenty of amphorae, oinochoai, hydriai, and lekythoi for storing and pouring liquids. A small table in terracotta with a standing rim on three sides has been interpreted as a portable eschara for the burning of incense.35 Terracotta figurines and female protomai occur in larger number than the pottery within the votive deposits. Archaic figurines of the late seventh and sixth centuries BCE portray seated and standing females wearing a tall polos as well as standing male figures. Terracotta loom weights also served as dedications. Among the more unusual votive items are faience vases and scarabs imported from the eastern Mediterranean. The Classical and Hellenistic phases of the sanctuary’s life are characterized by the dedication of thousands of miniature votive vessels and unguentaria as well as South Italian red-figure vases, black-gloss, and overpainted wares, along with other pots of local production used for the cooking and service of food. Considerable quantities of coroplastic materials continue to be offered as votive gifts. They exhibit a broad array of subjects. In addition to female busts and protomai, numerous figurines of seated women holding a swan, hare, or fruit, of draped standing women of the so-called “Tanagra-style,” of semi-draped and naked female figures, of Eros, of standing girls holding playthings, and of infants and crouching “temple boys” (often of large scale) are well represented. Of particular note is a marble statue of a standing draped female of the fourth century BCE (Figure 10.5). Found placed against the south wall of the oikos, the statue seems to have been intentionally covered by a haphazard wall of stones and broken tiles, perhaps after the sanctuary’s destruction at the end of the third century BCE . The statue may have served as a cult image portraying the patron goddess of the sanctuary.36 In the centre of the oikos, excavators found a stone treasure box, or thesaurus, that had been emptied of its contents. A second thesaurus, placed outside of the oikos near the rocky ridge with crumbled grottoes, luckily escaped the attention of looters. The stone box preserved valuables of the fourth and third centuries B C E : hundreds of coins from Taras, Thurii, and Herakleia, as well as an aureus of Alexander Mollosus,37 and several articles of gold jewellery. Considerations on the character of the cult What does the archaeological evidence for more than four centuries of ritual activity reveal about the nature of the cult practiced at the spring flowing beneath a ridge of shallow grottoes at Satyrion? The ceramic vessels indicate that, in addition to the pouring of libations, both drinking and dining took place at the shrine. By the later Classical and Hellenistic periods, banquets and feasts associated with animal sacrifice were probably conducted within hestiatoria. Many worshippers left modest gifts of loom weights and small
226 Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Figure 10.5 Marble statue of female figure from oikos of sanctuary at Sorgente, Satyrion. After Lippolis et al. 1995, pl. 29.3.
terracotta figurines, while some consecrated valuable Attic pottery, coins, and precious personal ornaments. The imagery of the votive terracottas sheds filtered light on the reasons the faithful performed these various rites and the spheres of influence controlled by the deity whose benevolence they sought. The Archaic terracottas offer generic representations of an enthroned goddess or of kouroi and korai, suggesting that a female divinity was propitiated by both men and women at the sanctuary. The multitude of Late Classical and Hellenistic figurines of standing draped women underscores the preponderant participation of women in the cult. Those representing a seated draped female holding a bird, hare, or fruit have been linked to portraits of maidens who are ready
Grottoes and the construction of cult 227 to undergo a transition through the rites of marriage.38 Other statuettes of girls holding a ball or plaything may reflect in a similar vein an individual’s imminent departure from a state of childhood as a result of puberty. The figurines of semi-draped and naked women and of Eros allude to the realm of Aphrodite, whose presence would be desired to ensure the anticipated outcome of a marriage union –the birth of preferably a male child and legitimate heir. These hopes are tangibly expressed by the dedication of figurines and statuettes of newborn babies and seated infants. Worshippers may have sought the protection of the divine patron of the sanctuary at Sorgente as they prepared to undergo a transition of social and biological status, trusting in the power of the goddess to grant them fertility. But by what name did they address the goddess? Different responses to this question have been put forth. The natural setting of a spring in the presence of one or more grottoes encouraged F. G. Lo Porto, the first excavator of the site, to attribute the sanctuary to an indigenous fresh-water Nymph, Satyria, whose name was given to the coastal site. Indeed, there is archaeological evidence for human frequentation of the ridge near the spring in the Neolithic period and for habitation on the acropolis of Satyrion from the Middle Bronze Age continuously until the arrival of the Greek settlers in the late eighth century B C E . Lo Porto conjectured that the indigenous worship of the Nymph Satyria was adopted by the Greeks who took over the peninsula.39 Long after the destruction of the sanctuary, the memory of a Nymph associated with the spring persisted. An aqueduct of Augustan date that tapped the copious waters of the spring was named aqua nymphalis still in the fourth century C E .40 Greek inscriptions that are contemporary with the active life of the sanctuary provide however more direct evidence regarding the identity of the patron deity. An inscription on the handle of an Attic black-figure cup depicting an equestrian of the third-quarter of the sixth century B C E declares in the Tarantine dialect that the vessel was dedicated, probably by a woman, to “the goddess” and so reinforces the observations made on the basis of material finds that women of the local Greek community propitiated a female divinity at the shrine.41 A second inscription on the base of an Attic closed vessel of the later sixth century B C E names Gaia as the recipient of the offering.42 In addition to her chthonic and mantic powers, Gaia oversees the fertility of the natural as well as human domains. The links between the sphere of influence of Gaia and that of Demeter and Persephone as well as the suggestive location of the cult at a grotto perhaps induced Lo Porto to propose that an indigenous cult practiced at the spring in honour of the Nymph Satyria was initially associated by Greek settlers with the worship of Persephone-Kore.43 In this respect, it should be noted that at least two of the terracotta busts dedicated at the sanctuary of Sorgente in the fourth century B C E portray a female figure wearing a polos and holding a piglet and a terracotta model of a pig was likewise deemed as an appropriate gift for the patroness of the cult.44 The
228 Rebecca Miller Ammerman individuals who dedicated these clay images of piglets may have associated Demeter and Persephone with the cult practiced at of Sorgente. Greater weight has been given to a third inscription on the rim of an Attic black-figure amphora of the mid-sixth century BCE signed by Exekias. The Doric inscription records the dedication of the vessel by K]leokrateis to Basilis, a generic title of “queen” that may be used for several goddesses, but at Taranto it refers to Aphrodite.45 For scholars, the identification of the cult patron as Aphrodite Basilis has proved the most seductive. Support for such an attribution is offered by the presence among the Hellenistic figurines of Eros and half-draped and naked women which, even if they may not portray Aphrodite herself, certainly speak to the erotic sphere of her influence. Leaving aside the bellicose traits that Aphrodite exhibits at Sparta (where inscriptional evidence suggests that the epiclesis Basilis may likewise refer to her), Parisi rightly stresses another aspect of the worship of Aphrodite at Sparta, where she is closely identified with Hera.46 Pausanias, in discussing an ancient wooden statue of Aphrodite Hera, notes that mothers offer sacrifices to this hybrid goddess for a daughter who is about to marry.47 This aspect of Aphrodite’s personality complements the concerns regarding fertility and protection of young women undergoing rites of transition that the archaeological evidence for the cult celebrated at Sorgente seems to highlight. While the Basilis propitiated at the sanctuary may well have been Aphrodite, I would argue that the Nymph who presided over the fresh waters of the copious spring played an equally important role in the cult practiced at Satyrion. But first, it is useful to examine another sanctuary at the Greek apoikia of Locri Epizephyrii. Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii Outside the walls of Locri Epizephyrii (Figure 10.1, No. 6), the shrine of Grotta Caruso developed around a spring that flows from a shallow, tufaceous cavern into the countryside (Figure 10.6). Excavations by P. E. Arias in the 1940s revealed that the natural landscape was enhanced by the construction of a semi-circular, stepped basin in front of the grotto where the spring water was collected for bathing before eventually being drained away from the site through a hydraulic system of interlocking terracotta tubes lying in a deeply cut channel.48 Inside the cavern, boulders, stacked three levels high, formed a rustic altar that was crowned by a small rectangular arula with carved mouldings and a decorative triglyph-metope frieze.49 In the open air, just beyond the roof of the grotto, a squared limestone block probably served as the base for a statue. Stairs lead down the hillside into the basin itself, which would have held a pool of water about 40 to 50 cm deep. In this way, whatever statue may have stood on the base would have appeared to be rising from the water. In addition, a worshipper would have to enter the pool in order to make an offering or pour a libation at the altar.
Grottoes and the construction of cult 229
Figure 10.6 Sanctuary at Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. After Costabile 1991, 235, fig. 363.
Thousands of artefacts were recovered during the course of the excavations. Publications ignore the finds of pottery except for a brief comment that numerous miniature votive vessels, including hydriai, were recovered from the grotto.50 Focus has instead been placed on the fascinating assemblage of votive terracottas of which more than 1100 were inventoried. Terracotta figurines of Archaic style indicate that cult activity at Grotto Caruso goes back to the early sixth century BCE. The Archaic figurines portray an enthroned goddess and standing female figures.51 In contrast to these generic images, the most commonly dedicated terracottas from the fifth to the mid-second century BCE are plaques (Figure 10.7) that portray
230 Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Figure 10.7 Votive plaque showing three-headed herm of the Nymphs and statue of Euthymos as human-headed bull from Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria, Inv. No. 110. After Costabile 1991, 199, fig. 321.
a trio of Nymphs, who are represented as a three-headed herm. Each wears a low polos. In some plaques, an offering table with three skyphoi stands in front of the herm; in others, thyrsoi flank the pillar’s sides. In additional plaques, the bust-like herm with its three heads rises above the representation of a grotto in which Pan plays his syrinx or a female dancer beats her tympanon. Finally, other versions (Figure 10.7) show a river god in the guise of a human-headed bull standing in front of the three-headed herm next to a libation table or a louterion.52 Individual figurines likewise portray Pan and Silenos, common companions of the Nymphs, while a few statuettes of Eros, Aphrodite, and Hemaphrodite join the thiasos of the divine trio of
Grottoes and the construction of cult 231 Nymphs. The decorative thyrsoi and figures of Pan, Silenos, and an ecstatic female dancer evoke Dionysiac associations, while the other figurines call attention to an erotic ambiance. The Nymphs raised the infant Dionysos in their cave and thus enjoy close ties to his realm. Their kourotrophic nature may account for the occasional presence of children and seated toddlers among the votive figurines. Terracotta busts of a female wearing a polos, sometimes in combination with a floral crown, figure among the votive offerings. A deeply embedded notion holds that such half-figures carry chthonic undertones connected with the anodos of Persephone and the worship of Demeter. There is however a growing chorus of scholars who prefer to interpret the busts in certain contexts as portraits of Nymphs rising from the water of a spring.53 I would argue that such an identification is warranted at Grotta Caruso. The imagery of the busts is closely linked to that of figurines of a seated female who is naked except for a low polos. The figurines, which were frequently dedicated at the spring sanctuary, possess multiple valences. They could represent divine Nymphs as well as mortal nymphai who engaged in prenuptial baths at the spring of Grotta Caruso. The waters served not only to purify the bride but also to enhance her fertility. Perhaps the offering of such a figurine likewise doubled as the rite enacted by a maiden who, about to change her status by becoming a married, sexually active woman, dedicated such playthings as a doll to a goddess in hopes of gaining the deity’s protection as she underwent this transition. In addition to these representations of nymphai participating in a ritual bath in the fresh waters of the spring, Locrian craftsmen fashioned other terracottas that offer engaging, self-reflexive images of additional ceremonies performed at Grotta Caruso as well as models of the grotto itself. Several terracottas, for example, represent female musicians playing wind, percussion, and stringed instruments. The votive images no doubt reflect the musical accompaniment of rituals, such as processions and choral dances, performed at the grotto by worshippers in honour of the Nymphs.54 Another figurine depicts Silenos holding a cornucopia as he reclines for a banquet on a rocky ledge within a grotto (Figure 10.8). At his left side, a niche carved into the wall of the grotto holds three terracottas identical to those that were popular votive gifts at Grotta Caruso: a female bust, a plaque representing the three- headed herm of the Nymphs, and a figurine, probably of Pan playing his syrinx seated on an outcrop of rock. The figurine of Silenos offers a mythic model, possibly for rites of drinking and dining that worshippers enacted in the shade of the grotto itself. Most remarkably, small terracotta models of a rupestral nymphaeum, representing the rocky walls of a cavern (Figure 10.9) and in some, also a fountain house built to dispense the waters of the spring at the front of the grotto served as impressive votive gifts. Some models had tanks that could be filled with water which then flowed through spouts into the basin of the fountain. These terracotta constructions may be based, in part, on the actual appearance of the Grotta Caruso; but given their variety, the models probably
232 Rebecca Miller Ammerman
Figure 10.8 Votive terracotta showing Silenos reclining in grotto with votive terracottas in niche from Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria, Inv. No. 151. After Costabile 1991, 160, fig. 259.
reflect to a greater extent what the craftsmen imagined a grotto of the Nymphs should be. In the example illustrated here (Figure 10.9), it is worth noting the female head added at the apex of the opening of the grotto. The head, like the female busts, may represent the numen of a Nymph assuming an anthropomorphic guise as she emerges from the waters of the spring that flowed from the recesses of the cavern. In another model, a votive plaque of the herm with the heads of three Nymphs was affixed inside the cavity of the grotto, emphasizing the goddesses’ close connection to the cavern.55
Grottoes and the construction of cult 233
Figure 10.9 Votive terracotta model of grotto from Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii. After Costabile 1991, 72, fig. 122a.
Unlike the case at Satyrion, no inscription records the specific identities of the three Nymphs who were worshipped at Grotta Caruso. The only inscription recovered from the excavations to name a deity was carved into the mould used to cast a series of plaques that portray a youthful human- headed bull standing before a libation table in front of the herm of the three Nymphs (Figure 10.7). The bull stands on a base that is inscribed as “sacred to Euthymos,” suggesting that the plaque depicts a statue of the historical, three-time Olympic victor in boxing from Locri Epizephyrii, who, according to legend, was transformed into a river god.56 In light of the frequent association of the older, bearded river god, Acheloos, with the Nymphs, the local hero, Euthymos, in a similar guise would be an appropriate companion to share the shrine at Grotta Caruso with the Nymphs of the spring.
234 Rebecca Miller Ammerman Comparisons between the cults at Grotta Caruso and Sorgente A comparison between the natural rustic setting and votive objects at the spring sanctuary at Grotta Caruso and that at Sorgente illustrates significant redundancies that suggest that the cults practiced at both shrines involved purificatory and fertility rites performed at the fresh waters of a spring in honour of one or more Nymphs. The single inscription to a goddess who enjoyed the title of Basilis may likely indicate that Aphrodite was propitiated at Sorgente, but there is ample evidence (beyond the spring itself) to argue for the presence also of a Nymph, perhaps the eponymous Nymph, Satyria. At both sanctuaries the imagery of the votive terracottas –female busts, semi- draped and naked women, Eros, children, and infants –suggests that cult participants were primarily the female members of the two respective communities who addressed their concerns regarding sexual prolificacy to the patron deities of each cult. At Satyrion the seated women holding a swan, hare, or fruit point to concerns of an erotic nature and to related issues of fertility. They belong to a larger repertoire of figurines of young women who sometimes unveil themselves in the bridal gesture of apokalypsis and normally hold objects that possess nuptial connotations.57 Their counterparts at Grotto Caruso are the figurines of naked seated females which likewise portray bridal nymphai. The votive objects from the two sites thus reflect concerns which belong to the overlapping spheres of Aphrodite and divine nymphai. In short, the deities worshipped at the springs and grottoes at Satyrion and Locri Epizephyrii oversaw puberty and nuptial rites, protecting the fertility of women who were making the transition from virginal to conjugal status. Pantanello, Metaponto At the rural sanctuary at Pantanello in the chora of Metaponto (Figure 10.1, No. 7), I have argued that the ceremonies performed at the waters of a spring, once again, honoured a Nymph who safeguarded women undergoing rites of passage, making the social and biological transitions from maid to bride and eventually to mother.58 The sanctuary shares many characteristics with those of the shrines at Sorgente and Grotta Caruso. There is, however, no cave or grotto at Pantanello. The underlying geology of marine terraces does not allow for such a natural feature. The absence of a grotto at Pantanello stands in stark contrast to the physical settings of the spring sanctuaries at Satyrion and Locri Epizephyrii. Nevertheless, in the imagination of the Metapontine community, a cavernous landscape was indeed envisioned as a suitable setting for the deity propitiated at the Pantanello spring. The results of the excavations directed by Joseph C. Carter at Pantanello have been published in meticulous detail by a team of scholars.59 Only a brief summary of the findings at the spring may be offered here. From the end of the seventh century BC E , dedications of pottery were being made at the place where the water of an aquifer flows most heavily out of the side of a hill and
Grottoes and the construction of cult 235 is soon channelled downslope toward the Basento River. The waters issuing from the aquifer east of the branched channel were captured in a rectangular area paved with cobbles and bordered by low walls. Steps led through what has been interpreted as the western temenos wall into this collecting basin, where excavators recovered many artefacts and valuable botanical remains. At a higher elevation west of the spring’s channel and collecting basin, the remains of an archaic stoa have been identified. The Archaic phase of the sanctuary’s life is marked by the presence of Corinthian imported and imitation vessels, Ionic-type A1, B2, and B3 cups, which give way to both imported Attic and locally produced black-gloss kylikes, skyphoi, and other drinking vessels by the fifth century B C E . Of particular interest for the question of Greek and indigenous interaction at the founding of Metapontion is the presence of the rim of a matt-painted olla dating to about 700 BCE .60 Among the miniature votive vessels, krateriskoi takes precedence over skyphoi, phialai, and kylikes. The bases of many drinking cups are intentionally perforated indicating that their use was primarily for the performance of libations. Other dedications include loom weights, white unworked coral, and figurines portraying generic images of a female goddess and worshippers with the exception of a single figurine of a standing naked female. Excavations recovered bones predominantly of sheep/ goat and cattle as well as numerous mollusc shells. The association of votive gifts in a shallow pit cut into the centre of the western channel carrying water away from the spring provides a rare insight into the rituals practiced at the archaic sanctuary. A small, bust-like image of a female wearing a tall polos, truncated at the level of the hips, was discovered standing upright in the pit where the archaic terracotta was bathed by the flowing waters of the spring.61 A miniature votive krateriskos was likewise found in the pit, suggesting that rites of libation accompanied the dedication of the bust-like figurine. In the fourth century BCE, a well was constructed to make further use of the water of the aquifer and a multi-roomed rectangular building, or oikos, was constructed on the higher ground just north of the archaic stoa. A sealed pit identified as a bothros within the oikos contained carbonized material, an epichysis for oil-based liquids, and other pottery used for the cooking and serving of food.62 In addition, several terracottas representing a Silenos, sometimes in the company of a Nymph, were recovered from the oikos. Of these, four were sealed within the fill of the bothros.63 The oikos, like the archaic stoa, may have served as a hestiatorion, where ritual drinking and dining took place. The pottery assemblages64 from the late fifth, fourth, and early third centuries BCE indicate that drinking cups, which could also be used for libations, were common throughout the area of the spring and collecting basin. Several kraters, as well as a red-figure nestoris that highlights the presence of Lucanian traditions (possibly of nuptial character), underscore the focus on the consumption of wine.65 Also present, but in limited number, are lekythoi for perfumed oil and lebetes gamikoi, a vase likewise
236 Rebecca Miller Ammerman associated with marriage rites. Louteria and thymiateria testify to ritualized acts of ablution and the burning of incense. In the elevated area where the oikos stood, an increased number of pots used for the storage, preparation, cooking, and serving of food show that banquets were part of the celebrations performed at the sanctuary. Considerations on the character of the cult On the whole, the archaeological record (architectural structures, pottery, votive terracottas, faunal remains, and so on) at Pantanello resembles in many ways that at Sorgente and Grotta Caruso, but it does not offer clear signposts for understanding the specific concerns or divinities addressed by the cult practiced at the spring. Once again, the generic imagery of the Archaic votive terracottas speaks to the worship of a female deity by female worshippers. Only the Archaic figurine of a naked standing female alludes more specifically to the erotic nature of female sexuality while the isolated nestoris and handful of lebetes gamikoi point potentially to nuptial concerns. As at Grotta Caruso, it is instead the imagery of the votive terracottas of the Late Classical period that provides more explicit indications about the nature of the cult that developed around the waters of the spring. Two-thirds of the terracottas offered as votive gifts at Pantanello during the fourth century BCE are relief plaques portraying a female figure in the company of Pan or, less frequently, Silenos (Figures 10.10 and 10.11). The visual narratives offered by the hundreds of these plaques dedicated at the mouth of the spring and in the collecting basin convey cultural concepts that are critical for understanding the social function of the cult and the identity of the deity propitiated at the spring. I have argued that the female figure making the bridal gesture of apokalypsis and holding a fruit-laden cornucopia as she dances in the embrace of goat- legged Pan or horse-tailed Silenos is a Nymph and that she was the mistress of the spring at Pantanello.66 As an approachable, localized deity, the assistance of the goddess would have been sought by a mortal nymphe as she embarked on a path to marriage, making the transition to a sexually experienced wife and hopefully arriving safely at the status of motherhood with the birth of a child. The bride’s nascent sexuality and desired fertility are reflected metaphorically in the figure of the dancing Nymph unveiling herself and carrying the cornucopia. The conceptual cave What is of interest for the study of caves and cult is that these votive plaques are the creation of the Metapontine craftsmen for use by the local community. They do not occur outside of the territory of Metaponto. I have identified several different mould series and their variants depicting the Nymph with Pan or Silenos that were fashioned in local workshops. Excavations at San Angelo Vecchio in the chora of Metaponto, for example, yielded scores of
Grottoes and the construction of cult 237
Figure 10.10 Reconstructive photo-montage and drawing of votive plaque of Nymph dancing with Pan from Metaponto. Drawing: M. Barretta. Photomontage: C. Raho.
Figure 10.11 Reconstruction of mold series portraying Nymph from Metaponto. Photo-montage: M. Holobosky.
238 Rebecca Miller Ammerman these plaques associated with a kiln where they were fired.67 What is fascinating is that the original archetype, or model, for the mould series lacks the background of a rocky grotto. Artisans introduced this feature to the moulds from which the plaques were cast only in the second generation of the mould series (Figure 10.11). And, what is even more intriguing, the arched mouth of the cavern, embellished by trellised clusters of grapes, is added to only those variants of the mould series that represent Pan as the companion of the Nymph (Figures 10.10 and 10.11). The setting of a cave is never added to the variants that depict the Nymph in the company of Silenos. Of equal interest is the fact that different craftsmen added different versions of a cavern to the original archetype. So far, I have distinguished sixteen variations of the representation of the grotto in the most common mould series. Three of these variants are illustrated here (Figure 10.11). The implication is that in the minds of many local craftsmen the appropriate landscape for the Nymph included a cavern whose mouth was framed by clusters of grapes. In other words, a cave formed part of the intellectual and cultural construct imprinted on the creative imaginations of each of these several artisans. Such a setting appealed likewise to the larger group of consumers who purchased the reliefs and placed them in the waters of the spring at Pantanello, where their display would have commemorated the pious act of the dedicator, remaining on view for the even wider public of worshippers who understood the multiple layers of concepts conveyed by the spirited image of the Nymph dancing with Pan at the opening of her cavernous abode.68 Striking disparities in the dedicatory choices made by members of the Metapontine community are further revealed by comparing the assemblage of votive terracottas at Pantanello with that at Temple E in the urban sanctuary of Metaponto, where I have argued that the Nymph was likewise propitiated. My analysis indicates that worshippers favoured the images of the Nymph in the company of Silenos without the setting of a cave as a votive offering at Temple E. In contrast, votive plaques portraying the Nymph and Pan frolicking before a grape-laden grotto were overwhelmingly the ex voto of choice at Pantanello.69 This discrepancy may perhaps reflect social and economic differences between the inhabitants that frequented the two sanctuaries. Silenos, who combines the ears and tail of a horse (a costly domesticated animal) with an otherwise human body, wears a chlamys and leather boots. In other words, Silenos sports the garb of a sophisticated city- dweller –if not that of a citizen of the social and military rank of a hippeus. Pan with caprine horns, shaggy legs, and hooves has tied the pelt of a panther or lynx over his shoulders in the manner of a cloak, evoking the untamed, natural world of the goatherd which lies beyond the walls of the city. The visual backdrop of a cave in the plaques portraying Pan with the Nymph was likewise more congruous to the rustic character of the spring sanctuary at Pantanello.
Grottoes and the construction of cult 239 As noted above, the importance of the setting of the spring sanctuary within a cavern at Grotta Caruso is emphasized by the terracotta models of a grotto which served as impressive votive gifts to a trio of Nymphs. At Pantanello, the significance of the conceptual association of a cave with a Nymph is stressed by the preferential offering of votive plaques representing the Nymph and Pan dancing under the vine-clad roof of a cavern. The terracotta models and relief plaques produced by craftsmen for local use at these two sanctuaries in southern Italy echo on a small scale the more exceptional practice attested in literary sources of creating artificial caves on a true-to-life scale.70 In the Hellenistic period, an artificial grotto was, for instance, regularly constructed as part of the celebrations of the Pythian Games at Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi,71 and a cave of the Nymphs replete with fountains flowing with milk and wine was one of the many theatrical floats devised for the extravagant procession of the Alexandrian festival sponsored by Ptolemy Philadelphus (308–246 BC E ). Five hundred men bore the large float (roughly 36 feet long and 24 feet wide) with the artificial cave: On top of it was a cave very deeply covered with ivy and smilax. Pigeons, ringdoves, and turtle doves flew out of this along the whole course of the procession and wool ribbons were tied to their feet to make them easy for the spectators to catch. Two springs, one of milk and the other of wine, gushed forth from it; all the nymphs around it wore gold garlands, and Hermes carried a gold messenger’s staff and wore expensive clothing.72 No such effort was made to provide a rocky grotto on a life-size scale for the Nymph propitiated at Pantanello. However, there may have been an attempt to recreate one element of the cavernous habitat that was emblematic of the imagined world of the Nymph –the trellised grapevine that surrounded the mouth of the goddess’s cave. Excavations at the collecting basin recovered a large number of grape stems. Although the remains of the vines may represent the offerings of first fruits, they might instead belong to a pergola of trellised vines that shaded the waters in the collecting basin.73 In this way, clusters of grapes would have hung over the heads of mortal nymphai who engaged in prenuptial baths at the spring of the divine Nymph. At Metaponto, the collective imagination of the artisans who fashioned the terracotta reliefs and of the worshippers who dedicated the votive plaques at Pantanello pictured the Nymph propitiated at the spring as residing in a rocky cavern. The craftsmen’s decorative addition of a grapevine around the opening of the grotto moreover recalls closely Homer’s description of the luxuriant dwelling of the Nymph, Kalypso: And just there, stretched out around the hollow cave, was a vine, in the prime of life, abounding with grape clusters.74
240 Rebecca Miller Ammerman The poet further describes the bright water of four springs flowing from the cave through a meadow of blooming violets and celery. Notwithstanding the interval of three centuries that separates Homer’s poetry from the Metapontine artisans’ visual tableau of the Nymph and Pan dancing beneath a bower of grapes at the arched mouth of a cave, the creative fancy of each of these artists gave expression to the same concept of what the ideal abode of a Nymph should be. At Pantanello, nature could not provide the Nymph with a grotto. It provided only a fresh-water spring. In its waters, worshippers repeatedly placed hundreds of clay images of the Nymph dancing in the shade of a grape-laden grotto, images which local craftsman had thoughtfully fashioned for the rites performed in the goddess’ honour. And so, in this way, the local inhabitants were able to provide a suitable cave in which their Nymph could reside. Summary What then are the patterns that have emerged from this review of selected cave sites that hosted cult activity in Magna Graecia? First, one sees that natural cavities on the Adriatic coast and in the interior of ancient Messapia and Lucania attracted the attention of the local indigenous communities who associated the underground spaces with divine powers. Often fresh- water springs flowed from or near the grottoes –another element of nature believed to possess a numinous force worthy of veneration. The underground chambers of Grotta Porcinara appear to have been artificially cut out of the rocky cliff but were clearly the focus of rites performed not only by local Messapians but also by Greek and later Roman mariners landing at the promontory of Leuca as a port of call. Burnt animal bones inside a Messapian olla found alongside imported Greek pottery of the late eighth and early seventh centuries B C E at an ash altar reflect rituals performed perhaps by both Messapian inhabitants and early generations of Greek sailors charting a course around the Salentine peninsula. Such an emporion-like situation, where members of different ethnic groups could meet safely under the protection of a divinity for the exchange of goods and non-material elements of culture, is confirmed by dedicatory inscriptions written on pottery in both Messapic and Greek from the mid-sixth century B C E onward. The inscriptional evidence from Grotta Porcinara and other sanctuaries located in the karstic caves of the Italian coast testify to offerings of thanks to Messapian gods, such as Zis Batas, whom the Greeks identified as Zeus Batios, and who controlled the lightning storms that posed danger to all seafarers regardless of their ethnic identity. In contrast, the indigenous cults practiced at Monte Papalucio at Oria and Grotte delle Fontanelle at Garaguso honoured female deities, probably of a chthonic nature, analogous to the Greek Demeter, who protected the fertility
Grottoes and the construction of cult 241 of the plants, animals, and inhabitants of these agricultural communities. Both Oria and Garaguso lie at the intersections of routes that connected inland indigenous centres and coastal settlements (some of which were founded by Greeks) by crossing the interior of the Italian peninsula. The two sanctuaries thus provided a safe haven for wayfarers of different communities to meet local inhabitants as well as one another for commercial and other types of exchange in a manner comparable to the sanctuaries on the Adriatic coast. That there was a steady trade of goods is reflected in the significant quantity of pottery, votive terracottas, and coins which derive from such Italiote poleis as Taras, Metaponto, Siris/Herakleia, and Poseidonia found at both sanctuaries. To what extent the indigenous communities adopted, and subsequently adapted, the material culture of their Greek neighbours in order to express their own religious practices and beliefs remains a vexed, yet intriguing, question. Finally, in considering religious practices at the Greek poleis of Magna Graecia, there is a predilection to associate the setting of a rocky grotto –be it a physical reality or merely an artificial construct of creative imagination – with the fresh-water spring of one or more Nymphs. The rituals performed at the springs ensured the fertility and safe passage of a young woman through puberty into marriage and on to motherhood. In other words, a mortal nymphe bathed in the waters of a divine Nymph whose assistance she sought in making these transitions. The votive terracottas from Grotta Caruso portray a trio of Nymphs at their grotto in the company of Pan, Silenos, and a dancing tympanist, while those from Pantanello show a single Nymph dancing in the company of Pan at the mouth of a cave. It is worth noting that several other sanctuaries located at caverns in Magna Graecia have been attributed to the Nymphs due to the presence of terracotta plaques representing the trio of Nymphs,75 figurines of Silenos in the company of a Nymph, or other factors.76 At Sorgente at Satyrion, the imagery of many of the votive terracottas suggests that the rituals enacted by the women of the community at the spring and grottoes addressed similar concerns regarding the rites of transition experienced by brides. Although the specific identity of the patron of a cult is of less importance than the needs that a cult served for a community of worshippers, it is nonetheless of interest that an ensemble of deities with overlapping spheres of influence may have been propitiated at Sorgente. In addition to the figurines that reflect nuptial ceremonies, a few terracottas present imagery associated with the worship of Demeter. More specific evidence is offered by a single inscription that names Gaia and another that refers to Basilis, which in this context is likely to be the epiclesis of Aphrodite. In addition, the presence of the abundant spring and mythic association of the Nymph Satyria with the settlement should not be overlooked. Until the large assemblages of ceramics, terracottas, faunal remains, and other finds recovered by excavations at the site have been systematically analyzed and
242 Rebecca Miller Ammerman published, it is perhaps best to view the long-lived sanctuary as one where the individual as well as the collective concerns of those who visited the shrine could be addressed to one or several divine powers associated with the spring and grottoes.
Notes 1 Ustinova 2009; Sporn 2010; Larson 2001, 14–20, 226–58. 2 The cave of the Sybil at Cumae is an exception due to its long-lived literary fame, though of course a specific physical cavern that may have given rise to the myth has not been identified: Barra Bagnasco 1999, 43. Scholarly focus on the ancient written record has led to a preponderance of study of the cults practiced in caves in mainland Greece with limited regard to those in southern Italy and Sicily. 3 For recent discussion of the “voicelessness” of indigenous and other non-elite groups and methodological approaches: Zuchtriegel 2018, 1–12. For foundational essay on the relationship between Greek and indigenous religious practices and beliefs in Magna Graecia: Torelli 1977. See also: Torelli 1999; Nava and Osanna 2005; Osanna 2010. 4 In Figure 10.1, 26 cave sites are indicated. Many caves that have yielded evidence for frequentation in prehistoric times, especially the Neolithic and Bronze Age, have not been included unless there are indications for the practice of cult during the Iron Age or a later, pre-Christian period. For a survey of prehistoric evidence for cult activity in caves in Italy: Whitehouse 1992; Miari 1995; Cremonesi 1999; Genick 1999. 5 This chapter introduces the anglophone audience to a subject that has been, on occasion, treated by Italian scholars in survey form: Miari 1995; Cerchiai 1999; Torelli 1999; Mastronuzzi 2005. It also summarizes the results of excavations at important cave sites published in Italian. 6 Cosimo Pagliara of the University of Lecce excavated the site in the mid-1970s: Leuca 1978, 47–238; Pagliara 1987, 297–8; Pagliara 1991, 508–11; Lamboley 1996, 262–8, 432–4; Mastronuzzi 2002, 62–5; Mastronuzzi 2005, 68–71. 7 For anchor: Leuca 1978, 69, pl. 34. For cippus: Pagliara 1991, 510; Mastronuzzi 2002, 62; Mastronuzzi 2005, 69–70. 8 Leuca 1978, 177–221, pls. 76–89. 9 Leuca 1978, 178–80, 187–8, 218–21; Lamboley 1996, 432–3. 10 Pagliara 1987; Pagliara 1991, 517–22. 11 See Figure 10.1, Nos. 1, 2, 15–16, 22, for coastal caves which have yielded evidence for ritual acts often addressing the concerns of sailors. The deities worshipped at these caves may not always be identified by inscriptions, as is the case for the gods propitiated at Grotta Porcinara, at Grotta della Poesia, and Grotta di S. Cristoforo: Pagliara 1987, 294–5, 301, pl. 19.2; Pagliara 1991, 514– 7; Mastronuzzi 2008, 17, 70–1. At Grotta di Venere Sosandra at Vieste mariners instead looked to Venus for protection in their travels: Torelli 1999, 693. 12 Pagliara 1991, 506–8, 515–6, 525–6, figs. 2, 6; Pagliara 1987, 296–300. 13 D’Andria 1990, 237–306; Mastronuzzi 2005, 83–7; Mastronuzzi 2008, 138–47; Mastronuzzi 2013; Mastronuzzi 2014. 14 Mastronuzzi 2013, 53. 15 D’Andria 1990, 283–5.
Grottoes and the construction of cult 243 16 Mastronuzzi 2013, 75, 126, 129, 212, figs. 41.45, 87.287. The dedication of shackles by freed slaves is well attested by literary sources in Greece. Excavations have recovered fetters at the indigenous spring sanctuary at Timmari (Lo Porto 1991, 186–7, pl. 86.308), at the Italiote sanctuaries of Demeter at Herakleia (Otto 2005, 17–8, fig. 24; Zuchtriegel 2018, 71) and of Hera at Vigna Nuova at Croton (Maddoli 1984, 327–29). In the absence of an inscription, the ethnic identity of the freed slave who made the dedication remains uncertain. 17 Mastronuzzi 2013, 76–7; Mastronuzzi 2014, 441–2, fig. 6. 18 Torelli 1999; Mastronuzzi 2005, 13–25; Osanna 2010; Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 323–6, 330–2, 349–50. 19 For similar depiction of cross-torch on pottery from the Demeter sanctuary at the Greek foundation of Siris-Herakleia on the Ionian Gulf: Otto 2005, 18, fig. 26. 20 For presence of piglets in other indigenous ritual contexts in Italy: Mastronuzzi 2005, 87 (Ostuni, Grotta di S. Maria d’Agnano, where inscriptions name Demeter); Mastronuzzi 2014, 440, n. 22; Sorrentino 2015, 354–79 (Garaguso, Grotte delle Fontanelle). 21 Mastronuzzi 2013, 69, 225–7. 22 For collection of papers on the worship of Demeter throughout the Mediterranean world with an emphasis on cults in Sicily: Di Stefano 2008. 23 Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 29–30 (for brief history of different excavations). See also Hano et al. 1971, Morel 1998, 11–12; Mastronuzzi 2005, 58–62. 24 Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 326–8. 25 Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 335. 26 Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 160–1, 245, 310–11, figs. 44.459, 49.868. 27 For example from Siris-Herakleia: Otto 2005, 12–3, fig. 17. 28 Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 337; Sorrentino 2015, 354–79. 29 Hano et al. 1971, 437; Morel 1998, 12; Mastronuzzi 2005, 60; Osanna 2010; Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 204, 321–2. 30 Hano et al. 1971, 433–4, fig. 15; Bertesago and Garaffa 2015, 141, 322, fig. 42. 31 Mastronuzzi 2005, 87. 32 Nafissi 1995, 268, 283, 291–2. 33 Lo Porto 1980, 728–33; Lippolis 1995, 83–7; Dell’Aglio 1999, 26–31; Masiello 2005; Lippolis 2009; Marchetti and Parisi 2016. 34 Lippolis 2009, 429–31. 35 Masiello 2005, 443, III.376. 36 Lippolis 1995, 83, 86, pl. 29.2–3. 37 Lippolis 1995, 86, 89. 38 Ammerman 2016, 128–9; Ammerman 2018, 1111. 39 Lo Porto 1980, 728. 40 Nafissi 1995, 274–5. 41 Nafissi 1995, 249–50, pl. 64.1. 42 Nafissi 1995, 188–90, pl. 57.1. 43 Lo Porto 1980, 728. 44 For bust: Masiello 2005, 441, III.369; Marchetti and Parisi 2016, 489, fig. 3.4. For pig: Lippolis 1995, pl. 31.3. For a female figurine holding a cross–torch (also associated with Demeter) photographed during the course of excavation: Dell’Aglio 1999, 28. 45 Nafissi 1995, 178–9, pl. 49.2; Marchetti and Parisi 2016, 490–2, fig. 4.1. 46 Marchetti and Parisi 2016, 492.
244 Rebecca Miller Ammerman 47 Paus. 3.13.9. Another cave sanctuary where marriage rites were held in the name of Aphrodite is briefly discussed above by Nagel, p. 118. 48 Arias 1941; Arias 1946; Arias 1980, 479– 579; Costabile 1991; Sabbione and Schenal 1996; Costabile 1996, 22–3; Barra Bagnasco 1999, 26–30, 40–1, 45–7. 49 Costabile 1991, 60, figs. 92–3. 50 Costabile 1991, 104. 51 Costabile 1991, 103–04; Sabbione and Schenal 1996, figs. 1.30–2. 52 Costabile 1991, 195–201, 225, figs. 314, 318–23, 349–50. 53 For summary of debate: Costabile 1991, 128–31, who credits Pace for the observation in 1945 that three busts depicted on the coins of Sicilian Himera must refer to the Nymphs. More recently: Portale 2012; Ammerman 2018, 1147–8. 54 Bellia 2016, 196–8. 55 Costabile 1991, 60–1, fig. 94. 56 Costabile 1991, 195–215. 57 Ammerman 2016, 128–9; Ammerman 2018, 1111. 58 Ammerman 2015, 363–72; Ammerman 2016, 117–20, 129–32; Ammerman 2018, 1099–127, 1148–58, 160–2. 59 Carter and Swift 2018. 60 Swift 2018b, 587–9. 61 Ammerman 2018, 1090, 1167; Swift 2018a, 522. 62 Swift 2018a, 547–54. 63 Ammerman 2018, 1093. 64 Swift 2018a, 555–61. 65 Silvestrelli 2018, 621–4, 640. 66 Ammerman 2015, 363–72; Ammerman 2016, 117–20, 129–32; Ammerman 2018, 1099–127, 1148–58, 160–2. 67 I am studying the full corpus of terracottas from the kilns at Sant Angelo Vecchio for publication. In the meantime, see Ammerman 2019, 298–300. 68 The Metapontine plaques in terracotta recall, of course, the more costly reliefs in marble that were frequently dedicated to Nymphs at their shrines in Attica: Ammerman 2018: 1105–7, fig. 45.12. A stone relief of Roman date dedicated to the Nymphs on the island of Ischia similarly portrays a trio of Nymphs at the mouth of a cavern, illustrating the long-held belief that imagined Nymphs within the setting of a cave: Adamo Muscettola 2002, 41, 44, 47, 49, fig. 4. 69 Ammerman 2018, 1155–8. 70 Settis 1965; Costabile 1991, 58. 71 Philodamus Sarpheus. Paean in Dionysum, 11.136–40 (Powell 1952, 169). 72 Athenaeus 5.200c (Translation by Olson 2006). 73 Stone bases with cut notches may have held upright poles to support the roof of the pergola: Carter and Swift 2018, 162, 1440–1, figs. 48.14, 54.22, 54.23. 74 Odyssey 5.68–9. 75 For terracotta plaques of the herm with the trio of Nymphs at Grotta Imperatore at Locri Epizephyrii (Figure 10.1, No. 7): Costabile 1991, 26; Barra Bagnasco 1999, 30. At Grotta di Galatro at Galatro (Figure 10.1, No. 8): Costabile 1991, 101, 231–3, figs. 178, 359. 76 The worship of a Nymph has also been ascribed to Grotta Papaciro at Martina Franca (Figure 10.1, No. 17), Grotta Abate Nicola at Ceglie Messapico (Figure 10.1, No. 20), and Grotta Zinzulusa, at Castro (Figure 10.1, No. 23): Cerchiai 1999, 216; Barra Bagnasco 1999, 40, 51. n. 68. The Grotto of the Lousidian Nymphs at Cerchiara (Figure 10.1, No. 9) should also be mentioned: Bassani 2014, 172.
Grottoes and the construction of cult 245
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Note: Page numbers in italics indicate figures and in bold indicate tables on the corresponding pages. Acrocorinth 175 adyton 59 Aghios Ioannis 195–6, 196, 199–200, 200 agropastoral communities 24–31 Alepotrypa Cave 4, 8, 37–9, 38–9, 41 altar(s) 54, 57, 57, 62, 71, 79–80, 95, 158, 175–6, 181, 191, 197–8, 200, 203, 205, 216–7, 228, 240 Amorgos 190, 192–3, 193, 207 Antiparos 190, 193, 196, 199, 203, 205, 207–8 Antiparos Cave 196, 201, 203–7, 199–202 Aphrodite 118, 227–8, 230, 234, 241 Apidima 31 apokalypsis (Revelation) 49, 234, 236 Apollo 99, 123, 188, 190, 192, 194, 203, 206–7, 214 arktoi 172 Arkalochori 3–4 Artemis 9, 105–8, 105, 121, 129–30, 133, 151, 160, 172, 188, 204, 206–7 Artemidora 151 Artemision 121, 175 Asphendou Cave 32 Astakos 4, 72 Athena 62, 82, 191 Attica 4, 9–10, 99, 144–6, 148–50, 152–5, 145, 168–9, 173, 180, 220–1 Ayia Triada Cave (Boeotia) 27, 28, 169; (Karystos) 29 banquet(s) 60, 191–2, 225, 231, 236 Bendis 106 Bent, J. T. 194 Benton, S. 4, 70, 71, 74–5, 79–80 Bernini, G. L. 63
Blegen, C. 4 Boeotia 5, 27, 28, 175 Boliatso Cave 71, 72, 85 Bronze Age 17–8, 24–5, 27, 28, 29–31, 30, 42, 52, 54, 77, 78, 192, 197, 218, 221, 227 Buddhist asceticism 49 Cathedra Petri 63 Cave of Ambouria 178–9, 180–1 Cave of the Nativity 50 Cave of Nestor 3–4, 19, 21, 25–6, 27 Cave of Pan 144–61; (Marathon) 9, 144, 146, 147, 149, 149, 151, 152–3, 153, 155, 157, 158–61, 168; (Eleusis) 145, 168, 171, 177; (Daphni) 145, 168, 176; (Penteli) 145, 168, 177; (Vari) 145, 168; (Illissos) 145; (north slope) 145 Cave of the Leibethrian Nymphs 169, 170 Choirospilia 3, 72 Christianity 50 Chrysospilia Cave 205–6, 206 conch shells 54 consumption 3, 9, 27, 33–4, 42, 77–9, 82, 84–5, 87, 93, 173, 207, 221, 235 Corinth/Corinthia Corinthian 4, 83–5, 93, 97, 120, 126, 129, 217, 220–1, 224, 235 Corycian Cave 4, 19, 20, 116, 130, 156, 169 Crete 1, 3–4, 8, 32, 49, 51–53, 56, 64, 169, 181, 188, 206 Cyclops Cave (Youra) 39–41, 40; (Meganisi) 72; (Irakleia), 195–6, 196 cymbal(s) 54, 54, 123
Daidala 175 Delos 188, 190–2, 191, 206–7 Delphi 4, 19, 82, 115, 129–30, 239 Dionysos/Dionysus/Dionysiac 98–100, 99, 104, 107–8, 192–3, 193, 197–8, 207, 214, 231 Dodecanese 5 Dyskolos 155, 158–9 Eccles, E. 4 Elea-Velia 181 Elean 97 Eleusis Cave 176, 177 embossed/embossing 54–5, 54, 62 Epirus 4, 31 Euboea(n) 5, 19, 29, 31 Fabulae 55 feast(s)/feasting 3, 9, 34, 37, 80, 84–6, 97, 101, 104, 108, 123, 127, 131, 133, 159, 161, 176, 205, 225 food 9, 33–5, 39, 42, 77, 82, 85, 124, 126–7, 128, 158, 173, 207, 219, 221, 225, 235–6 foraging communities/foragers 31–3 Franchthi Cave 4, 32–3 Gospel of Pseudo Matthew 50 graffiti 197, 203, 205–6, 206 graffito 87, 148, 151, 152 Grotta Caruso, Locri Epizephyrii 215, 228–9, 229–30, 231, 232–3, 233–4, 236, 239, 241 Grotta della Poesia, Rocavecchia 215, 217–8, 223 Grotta Porcinara, Leuca 215, 216–8, 216, 223, 240 Grotte delle Fontanelle, Garaguso 215, 220–4, 222, 240 Hazzidakis, J. 3 Hera 82, 103, 191, 228 Herakleion Archaeological Museum, Crete 54, 61 Herakles 175, 191–2 herm(s) 151–2, 153, 168, 230–3, 230 Hermes 9, 151–2, 160, 239 heterotopia(s) 5, 39, 59 Homer, Homerian, Homeric 3, 70, 88, 152, 154, 239–40 hydrophoros 168, 172
Idaean cave 3, 8, 49–50, 52–3, 55–7, 52, 54, 57–9, 60, 61, 62–4, 169 inscription(s) 82, 86, 87, 99, 107, 117, 149, 155, 175, 189, 194, 196, 203–6, 218, 220, 227–8, 233–4, 241 Ionian Sea/Gulf/islands 1, 2, 4, 70, 72, 77, 84, 88, 93, 98, 107–8, 115–6, 169, 221, 223 Iron Age 9, 17–18, 23–4, 53, 64, 70–1, 77, 78, 79, 86, 119, 124, 191, 197, 215, 221 Ithaca 9, 17, 70–1, 82, 84–5, 87, 94, 105, 154, 156, 169, 172, 205 Kalydon(ian) 100, 105, 107, 120–1, 131 kanephoros 172 Kastria Cave 19, 23–4, 27–8, 30 Kephallonia 9, 71, 79, 85, 87, 93, 94, 98, 105–6, 109, 121 Kephalos 106–7 Konstas, K. 116, 120 Kybele 151, 160 Kythnos 10, 129, 188 Lake Kopais 27 lamps 128–9, 129, 133, 145–6, 156 Laws 51 Leake, W. 116 Lechova 169 Leukas 3, 71, 79, 84–5, 87, 93, 128 libation(s) 59–60, 158, 217, 221, 225, 228, 230, 233, 235 Liberalis, Antoninus 63, 98 Life of Pythagoras 53–4, 62 Limnes Cave 7 Logos 50 loom weights 131, 154, 156, 225, 235 Lucania(n) 214, 219, 222–3, 235, 240 Magna Grecia 181 Mani 4–5, 31–2, 37, 56 Marathon see Cave of Pan marriage rites 236 Marinatos, S. 4, 61 Markovits, A. 4 Marmarospilia (cave of the Nymphs) 71, 72 Maya(n) 49–50 Menander 154, 158 Messolonghi 116–7, 133 Messapia(n) 217–221, 222–3, 240
Index 251 Metaponto 214, 220–2, 234–6, 237, 238–41 Mohammed 49 Monte Papalucio, Oria 215, 219, 219, 223–4, 240 Mount Zas 196–9, 197–9 Mount Ida 56, 64 music, musicians 121, 123, 149, 158–60, 231 Mycenaean(s) 17–21, 20–1, 23–5, 24–5, 27, 29, 42, 70, 144 National Archaeological Museum, Athens 4, 177 Naupaktos 118, 121, 125, 133 Naxos 189–90, 193, 196–9, 197–8, 207 New Testament, the 49–50 niche(s) 28, 37, 58–60, 75, 146, 157, 180–2, 194, 231–2, 232 Nymph(s) 106, 116, 145–6, 145, 148–56, 158–60, 168–9, 168, 170, 172–3, 174, 177, 189, 194–5, 197, 207, 214, 224, 227–8, 230–6, 230, 237, 238–40 Nympholept Cave 4, 168; nympholeptoi 194 Odysseus 70, 82, 85–6, 156 Odyssey 154 ossuary, ossuaries 28–9, 30, 37, 38 Paleolithic 31–3, 188 Paliambela Cave 72, 169, 171, 174 Pantanello, Metaponto 234, 235–6, 237, 238–41 Paracheloitis 116–7, 117–19, 123, 128, 133 Parnes 145, 150, 155, 158, 168–9, 168, 172 Pausanias 62, 107, 118, 121, 133, 144, 146, 160, 228 Peloponnese 3, 8, 19, 21, 27–8, 31–2, 37, 97, 108 perfume and unguent containers 82–4, 83 Petralona 31 Pilarou Cave 193–4 Pitsa 4, 115, 169 Plato 50–1 Pleistocene 51, 64 Polis “cave” 70–82, 72–4, 76, 78, 81 Porphyrios 53, 62 Protoevangelium of James 50 Psychro 3
Pythagoras 53, 62, 155 Ptolemy Philadelphus 239 Republic 50 Returns of Odysseus 70 roof tile(s) 118, 131, 132, 172, 225 Saftouli Cave 169 Schliemann, H. 3 shell(s) 32, 53, 129–31, 129, 189, 235 Sikelianos, A. 115 Siphnos 190, 193–4, 207; Siphnos Cave 194–5, 195 Skoteini Cave 19, 20–2, 29–30 Sorgente, Satyrion 8, 215, 224–226, 227–8, 234, 236, 241 soundscape 50, 55 speleothem(s) 3, 59, 73 stalagmite(s) 3, 19, 39, 40, 146, 175, 195, 196, 200, 202, 203, 205 Spolaita 120–1 steatite beads 19 Strabo 116 Stratos 121, 123, 131 terracotta figurines 5, 10, 84, 102, 121, 146, 148, 150–1, 155, 158, 167–9, 168, 172–7, 179–81, 179, 217, 220–1, 222, 225–6, 229, 235; herm 151; protome(s) 86, 155; sphinx 82; model 227; busts 227, 231; tubes 228; votive terracotta 232–3, terracotta model of grotto 233, 239; reliefs 239; plaques 241; sculptures 120 Theopetra Cave 35–7, 36, 41 Theophrastos 62 theoria 62 Varasova Cave 2 Vari Cave 4, 145, 168, 169, 172–3, 177, 180–1 water (in caves) 3, 40–1, 50, 60, 73, 115, 118, 129–30, 133, 146, 172, 188, 194–5, 197, 218, 227–8, 231–2, 234–6, 238–41 weaving 40–1, 40, 154 Wunderkammer 52–3, 60, 62, 64 Zas see Mount Zas Zeus 51–2, 54–6, 54, 60, 62–3, 191, 194, 196–9, 207, 214, 217–8, 240 zoomorphic 19, 105