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Graml, Constanze; Hunziker, Manuel; Vukadin, Katharina (2019): Cult and Crisis: A GIS Approach to the Sacred Landscape of Hellenistic Attica. In: Open Archaeology, Vol. 5, No. 1: pp. 383-395
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Abstract

From a political point of view, 3rd century BCE Athens represents a shattered unity. Parts of the Athenian countryside and even the city itself were occupied by foreign troops. This loss of control affected the city's political, economic, social, cultural, and religious life. Since Cleisthenic times, relations between political units and religious communities had become institutionalised through specific cults. Other cult places of relevance to the larger community and therefore with a catchment area that exceeded a deme, e.g. Eleusis, were also affected, as they lay within the occupied territories. This partial inaccessibility of the countryside risked the disruption of religious duties. The project "Cult and Crisis: The Sacred Landscape of Attica and its Correlation to Political Topography" aims to identify potentially affected cult places with no limitations regarding their possible catchment area by analysing their placement in relation to foreign military bases. Alterations in cult practice can plausibly be detected in changes ranging from cessation to the rerouting of ritual movement or the establishment of substitute cult places. As these "solutions" rarely feature in written sources, our GIS-based approach will focus on material remains from sanctuaries. Although an object's use for ritual practice cannot be deduced with certainty, the distribution of finds certainly attests to human activity. This contribution presents a trial of this approach, taking the Sounion area as its case study.