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

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

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

chapter 1|16 pages


On reading caves and ancient Greek cult

chapter 2|32 pages

The dawn of ancient Greek cave cult

Prehistoric cave sanctuaries

chapter 3|21 pages

Caves as sites of sensory and cognitive enhancement

The Idaean Cave on Crete

chapter 4|23 pages

Caves and consumption

The case of Polis Bay, Ithaca

chapter 5|22 pages

Communities, consumption, and a cave

The profile of cult at Drakaina Cave on Kephallonia

chapter 6|29 pages

A river ran through it

Circulating images of ritual and engaging communities in a cave in Aitoloakarnania

chapter 7|23 pages

The Cave of Pan at Marathon, Attica

New evidence for the performance of cult in the historic era

chapter 8|21 pages

The face of cave rituals

Terracotta figurines in Greek sacred caves

chapter 9|26 pages

Cult and ritual in Cycladic caves