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by Archaeology Newsroom

The oracular cave of Heracles Vouraikos

The cave, also known to the natives as the”Heracles cave”, is located in eastern Aeghialeia, south of the village Elaion (Trypia). It was discovered during the search for ancient Eliki, a cultural and religious center of the “Common of Achaens”, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 373 BC. The cave is carved out of a natural conglomeratic psammite rock and consists of three major levels. Relevant research has proved that the cave can be indentified with the one described by older travellers and especially by Blouet as the “cave of Heracles Vouraikos”. In addition, there is data supporting its antiquity and its probable indentification with the cave of “Heracles Vouraikos”.This data refers to the cave’s inner formation visited and described by Pausanias. Situated at a distance of 5.5 kilometers (30 ancient stadia) from Eliki, in superimposed levels and areas as well as the flight of steps outside its eastern side that leads to the top of the rock, features that are suited to the function of an ancient, rural oracular sanctuary. Furthermore, the two series of holes on the cave’s facade testify to the support of a roofed stoa or room, a building in any case appropriate to an ancient rural sanctuary. The wall-painting remnants on the ceiling of the cave bear witness to the sanctity of the site throughout the Byzantine and Postbyzantine periods.