Water at ancient Greek sanctuaries

  • Period: 2019-01-01 – 2024-12-31
  • Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

(Vatten, gudomlig närvaro och mänskliga behov i grekiska helgedomar)

Water is essential for the formation of human societies and sites, modern as well as ancient. This is true not the least in the warm and dry climate of the Mediterranean summer. Ancient Greek sanctuaries were no exception to this. In fact, it can be argued that water was more important at sanctuaries than most other sites, as it was necessary not only for survival and utilitarian needs, but also for ritual purposes.

Water usage included for example drinking, bathing, cooking and cleaning, beside ritual purification and the washing of cult images. Despite this dual need, within the framework of the study of ancient Greek sanctuaries water has almost exclusively been viewed as serving ritual purposes. Consequently, and due to its critical function for survival and ritual activities at Greek sanctuaries, there is a need to document and analyse how water was supplied, used and understood in these settings.

Our project Water at ancient Greek sanctuaries: medium of divine presence or commodity for mortal visitors? aims to explore the use of water, ritual and utilitarian, in ancient Greek sanctuaries during the Archaic to Hellenistic periods (700–31 BCE).

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Projektledare: Hedvig von Ehrenheim
Medarbetare: Patrik Klingborg, Axel Frejman