Distant Deities, Central Places

Conference Paper

Session 3: Comparative Angles
Friday 2023-04-07
13:30 | 18:00

Reconsidering the Cypriot ‘Extra-urban’ sanctuary in the context of Central Place Theory: The case of Kakopetria-Agilades

Giorgos Papantoniou (Trinity College Dublin), 2023-04-07, Time: 13:30 - 14:10


This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the relationship between sanctuaries and the territoriality of the Iron Age polities of Cyprus. The sanctuary site of Kakopetria-Agilades, is used as a case-study to test hypotheses regarding the connection between extra-urban sacred space and the formation of political and cultural identities. After a short introduction to the theme, a combination of archaeological (context and iconography) and geographic data are used to contextualise the centrality of this sanctuary within its political, economic, cultural and symbolic landscapes.

As in the case of a number of other sanctuaries examined in the context of the ‘Unlocking Sacred Landscapes of Cyprus’ project, the placement of Kakopetria-Agilades in front of the copper resources may have been ideologically connected with the territoriality of the Iron Age polity-kingdoms. If we consider the strong military iconography found at the sanctuary, along with the presence of an Athena-like deity, we may be able to reinforce this interpretation. The discussion proceeds, considering some of the main themes suggested for this conference (terminology, placement and function of sanctuaries, ancient understandings and change, polis and connecting shrines, integration, social and economic impact, and beyond the polis perspective), in order to manifest how site-based analysis may contribute to landscape archaeology, revealing the significance of this sanctuary as a central place, albeit lying in an un-central landscape.


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