Rural Sanctuaries in Macedonia during Late Roman Times
Vassilis Evangelidis, 2021-10-16, Time: 09:30 - 10:10
Religious material culture, inscriptions, statues and statuettes or votive objects of various material but most importantly temples and sanctuaries were from very early on an integral part of religion in the area of Macedonia. Much of this activity involved shrines and sanctuaries in rural areas or areas away from large urban centers. Within this religious landscape where local sanctuaries played a significant role underlying non Greek and Thracian beliefs came to coexist with Greek religious practices and such cult places were of central importance in the non urbanized rural areas of the province. Systematic research over the last 50 years has revealed a diverse ritual landscape with different ritual sites ranging from open air sanctuaries and caves to large ritual complexes equipped with temples and other administrative buildings. With the gradual Christianization of Macedonia changes in ritual space followed. Scope of the paper is to describe the end of ritual space especially in rural contexts in Macedonia. It will focus specifically on different cases of rural sanctuaries within Macedonia (such as the sanctuary of Ennodia at Kozani or the cave of Black Rock at Siderokastro), and thus on the methodological problems related with identifying the end of these sites. Evidence for destruction - desacralization, continuity (where EC basilicas succeeded old sites) and social and economic changes will be examined through archaeological examples in order to describe in archaeological terms the process of the “twilight phase” of these ritual sites.