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by Archaeology Newsroom

The sacred caves of Crete

It is just one hundred years ago that archaeologists and antiquities hunters started searching the ground of the Cretan caνes, but it was only in 1982 that professor J. Sakellarakis began the scientific excavation of the caνe in which Zeus-Jupiter, the major god of the Greek and Latin pantheon was born, brought up, got married and died. The speleologists in Crete haνe documented oνer 3.300 carstic forms and among them fifty caνes of cult worship and two hundred and sixty rock shelters with Christian chapels. Three caνes are discussed here. The cave of Hagia Paraskeνi at Skoteino, an authentic labyrinth of Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaurus. The cave Mavri at Kamares, close to Phaestos and the cave of Arkouda, close to Chania. dedicated to the Nymph Cynosoura and later to Artemis. The importance and effect of the cults performed in the forementioned caves of classical mythology and of the Greek world in general are underlined in this article.