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Ritual At The Crossroads: A Sacred Stone In Ancient Athens

  • 4 Nov 2021
  • 7:00 PM (EDT)
  • Virtual

Ritual At The Crossroads: A Sacred Stone In Ancient Athens

AIA Society: Columbus
Lecturer: Susan Rotroff

A large, irregular boulder fenced off by a parapet of stone slabs lies at a crossroads on the north side of the Agora (the public square) of ancient Athens. When excavated, in the 1970s, it was covered with hundreds of small vessels, placed there in the latter part of the 5th century BCE, along with an eclectic collection of unusual objects, including gilded pebbles, knucklebones, writing styli, and fragments of broken sculpture. The lecturer and her colleagues at the Agora have embarked on a detailed study of the monument, now nicknamed the Crossroads Enclosure. Although it was located at one of the busiest spots in the city, its ancient identity remains a mystery. This lecture examines the architecture, contents, position, and environment of the Enclosure, looking for clues to that identity and the nature of the rituals and other activities that took place there, and placing it within its historical context in the turbulent last decades of the 5th century BCE.

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