The sanctuary of Demeter at Mytilene : a diachronic and contextual study
The thesis describes and analyses the archaeological remains of the Demeter sanctuary at Mytilene, Lesbos which was excavated from 1983 to 1994. The thesis is divided into two sections, the main text and a site catalogue. In the main text, chapters one and two provide a discussion of the possible origins of Demeter and a details description of the remains of the sanctuary at Mytilene. Chapters three and four examine topography and artifacts from a broad range of Demeter sanctuaries, while chapter five discusses a selection of sanctuaries of other Greek Goddesses. The conclusions from these three chapters are used to form parameters by which Demeter sanctuaries may be more reliably identified acrhaeologically. Chapter six returns to the specific study of Mytilene, assessing it in relation to other Demeter sanctuaries and examining its local social, political and religious contexts. Finally, the catalogue records Demeter sanctuaries from coastal Asia Minor, the Black Sea, mainland Greece and the islands, North Africa and Sicily, providing the data used for comparanda and analysis. Analysis of Greek Demeter sanctuaries indicates that they are usually small and often not adorned with numerous structures, but they are seldom hypaethral. Location is not a good characteristic for archeaological identification because, throughout the Greek world, sanctuaries can be intraurban, extraurban or set in isolated areas. there may be a slight correlation between the location of the sanctuary and the festival celebrated within, but this conclusion is problematic because of the secrecy of many of Demeter's rites and because sanctuaries may have housed more than one festival. There is also no definite artifact assemblage, but there are some artifacts which have a strong correlation with the worship of Demeter including hydrophoroi, miniature hydriai, lamps, women's objects, feasting wares and faunal remains, notably suids. These artifacts are especially indicative when present in large numbers. The sanctuary at Mytilene was active from the Archaic period to circa the first century A.D. The large numbers of artifacts from the diagnostic categories mentioned above, indicate that the sanctuary was dedicated to Demeter, while its chthonic elements argue that it may have been a Thesmophorion. Comparanda indicates that although its location on the acropolis is rare, it is not prohibitive to its identification. this sanctuary was evidently important to life in Mytilene town and the sanctuary phases can be conjoined with the local polis history.