The Cave of «Nymphe Koroneia» in Boeotia

The cave is located on Mount Helicon in the area of village Agia Triada, Leivadia, and at an altitude of around 900 m. During the Archaic and Classical periods, the cave acted as a rural sanctuary to Nymphs, the satyr Pan, and other deities. Beneath the evidence for the cave’s use in historic times, I study considerable Middle Bronze Age deposits including a well-stratified pyre (early 2nd millennium BC), and disturbed fills of an earlier date, spanning from the Early Bronze Age to the Final Neolithic (3rd and 4th millennia BC).

The period of occupation that is verified from the very beginning of the Early Bronze Age is demonstrated by the finds of very large bowls shaped with rims that have a very wide, flat surface, and is carrying elongated knobs. In the Middle Bronze Age, those that used the cave introduced handmade black burnished vessels, some coarse grey ware with deep grooves or incisions and some fine grey, wheel-made stemmed cups.

It is very probable that the cave was used seasonally in summer by long-distance herders that grazed their flocks on the plateaus outside the site. Not all prehistoric communities would have, however, visited the cave for the same reason. Domestic or livestock holding activities were more likely during Neolithic use, while in the Bronze Age there may have been more selective uses of the cave, possibly as far as the ceremonial consumption of food.


Excavation by the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology-Speleology under the direction of Dr. V. Vasilopoulou.