About the Mount Lykaion Project

Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project
Arcadia, Greece

Answering questions about the origins of Greek cult and the origins of Greek athletics are at the heart of the agenda for the fourth year of excavations at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion in Arcadia. The 2009 season excavation, co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the University of Arizona and the Greek Archaeological Service under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, will re-examine the evidence from the ash altar of Zeus at the southern peak of Mt. Lykaion, 4500 feet above sea level, and last excavated over 100 years ago.  The ash altar was the area used to burn the dedications of animals and possibly humans, according to several ancient authors including Plato, Theophrastus and Pausanias.

How did these dedications begin and where did the cult of Zeus come from? How early were athletic contests (well known from the Classical period) associated with the cult? How does the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion and its athletic program relate to the nearby cult of Zeus at Olympia? We will also be digging in the hippodrome and stadium in the lower sanctuary and in the nearby associated buildings and structures looking for evidence of the history and use of the sanctuary.

The Mt, Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project season runs from June 1 – July 13 and I will post weekly reports to the blog. We will have a large team in the field and we look forward to exciting developments this summer. Our website is http://lykaionexcavation.org

David Gilman Romano, Ph.D.
Co-Director and Field Director, Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project

Mediterranean Section
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Map of the Peloponnesos and southern Greece showing the location of Mt. Lykaion.

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