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Greek Sanctuary

2 February 2017

At www.tornosnews.gr/en/greek-news/culture/22608-new-finds-at-oldest-island… … excavations at an ancient sanctuary on the Greek island of Keros have revealed it goes back at least to 3000BC. Colin Renfrew describes it as the 'world's earliest maritime sanctuary' – a play on words as there are older sanctuaries out there. It seems there was a staircasedthat connected Kavos Mount with Daskalios, a small rocky islet offshore. The strip of land that had once connected both of them is long submerged.

Numerous fragments of broken figurines and marble basins have been found, as well as sherds of pottery (useful in dating the site). No whole figurines have been found – or even parts of figurines that fit together. They appear to have occurred at Kavos already fragmented. Renfrew suggests it was an obligation to bring a piece of broken figurine with them when visiting the sanctuary. In 2008 a 16m long stone sanctuary was found, dating between 2500 and 2400BC. This is the same age as Stonehenge when it was being revamped, and taken down and revamped in a different way. It was also contemporary with the Ness of Brodgar in the Orkneys. In addition, the sanctuary was abandoned late in the 3rd millennium BC – when activity at Stonehenge appears to have been suspended and when the Ness of Brodgar was itself ritually closed down and abandoned.

According to Renfrew the Kavos shrine was the most important ritual centre in the Cyclades (from 3000 to roughly 2000BC). Its earliest date corresponds to when the original henge at Stonehenge was built – but ritual offerings seem to most widely date between 2750 and 2550B C (the age of the pyramids in Egypt). Excavations are ongoing.

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