The Cave of Pan in Daphni

A sacred cave on the steep slope of Poikilo, behind the Daphni Monastery, was first located by D. Kampouroglou and excavated by I. Traulos. The cave is 11.5 m deep, 7.8
m wide and funnel-shaped. Its entrance - to the north
- had been blocked by an ancient rubble wall, which nevertheless left an opening. A terrace wall created a small court in front of the entrance. The interior had only one short partition wall and a few rectangular carvings
on the floor. Remains indicate that the cave walls had been plastered.
Movable finds (pottery, ashes, bones) suggest ritual burning of offerings and the sacrifice of small animals.
Most potsherds come from loutrophoroi, vessels used
in weddings and funerary rituals for single persons. Clay
figurines depict Satyrs, Pan, Aphrodite and other females. The excavator attributes the cult to the protector of
nature, the woods and the shepherds, namely Pan and
his companions. Similar caves to Pan have been located elsewhere in Attica too.
Artefacts date the cult to the 5th century BC only, which explains Pausanias’ ingorance of the site. The cave was inhabited by Byzantine hermits and was used as a stable
in Ottoman times.

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