The resources of this web site are created for the use of the interested public, as well as scholars, students and staff of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project. We hope that the information provided here will be helpful in a variety of ways. Our collaborative project has been underway since 2004, with participation from the Greek Archaeological Service, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the University of Arizona. It is a comprehensive project that unites anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, Classicists, cultural landscape and heritage specialists, geologists, historians, and scientists of many types. Our goal is to learn as much as possible about the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion, one of the most famous Zeus sanctuaries of the Greek world, from the beginning of its use to the end.
Some of our specific goals are enumerated here:
- To learn about the origins and evolution of the cult of Zeus as well as to define the chronological limits of its use.
- When did the Pan-Arcadian festival begin?
- When did it become a Pan-Hellenic festival?
- When did the athletic contests begin? When did they end?
- What were the routes used by pilgrims and athletes to get to the Sanctuary on top of the mountain?
- Where did they come from?
- Is there a relationship between the location of the ash altar of Zeus on the southern peak of the mountain and the geological or geographical surroundings?
- Why was the altar placed exactly where it was?
- There is no temple mentioned by ancient authors and no temple has been discovered at the site. Was there a temple? And if so where is it?
- How does the sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion relate to the many other sanctuaries in this Parrhasian region of Arcadia?
- What are the similarities and differences between the Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion and the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia only 22 miles away?
- What is the economic history of the site?
- Was there a group of local communities who paid for the construction of the buildings and monuments and upkeep at the sanctuary?
- When were the buildings constructed?
- How can our project help preserve this rich and complex area in Arcadia for the future?