The best known cave which has revealed evidence for having being used as a cult place in #Attica, is the one at Vari, on the south end of Mount #Hymettos. It is known as the “Cave of Pan”, or “Archedimos’ Cave”, or “Cave of the Nympholept”, and was rediscovered in modern times by R. Chandler in 1765.
This small cavern, comprises two main rooms, and was sacred to the Nymphs, Pan, and Apollo, after being embellished by Archedimos, during the 5th century BC. Inscriptions, niches, shelves, steps, shrines, and reliefs carved on the cave walls, testify for his work.
The cave functioned as a cult place until the mid- 3nd century BC, and started to be visited again by the #neoplatonists in the 4th century AD. At the end of the 4th – beginning of the 5th century AD, it was destroyed by Christians, who tried in vain to transform it into a Christian shrine.
A small scale investigation of the Cave of the #Nympholept was carried out by C.H. Weller of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, in 1901.
Dr Alexandra Mari is a prehistoric archaeologist working at the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology – Speleology of the Ministry of Culture and Athletics.
She locates caves of archaeological interest in order to study their finds and interpret the way these monuments were functioned and used in antiquity.
She has taught prehistoric archaeology in the Guides’ School at Athens and in seminars organized by Caving Clubs. She has written papers for Proceedings of Conferences, archaeological journals and honorary volumes.