2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM


RETALLACK, Gregory J., Department of Geological Sciences, Univ of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, gregr@darkwing.uoregon.edu

The idea that the polytheistic religion of classical Greece arose by amalgamation within early cities of former nomadic maritime, pastoral, estate and subsistence farming cultures is supported by this study of soils at 40 well known archaeological sacred sites. By this view, classical Greek gods and goddesses came not from an imaginary poetic city on Mt Olympus, but personify more ancient local lifestyles. Lithic Xerepts supporting montane scrub suited to nomadic cultures were found at numerous temple sites for Artemis (Brauron and Aulis in Attica, Stymphalia in Corinthia, Artemisio in Arkadia, Artemision on Euboea, Chora on Naxos, Avlonas on Lemnos) and Apollo (Delphi in Phocis, Bassae in Arkadia, Eretria on Euboea, Ismenion in Boeotia, Ikaria in Attica, Kourion in Cyprus, Portara on Naxos). Arid coastal Calcids encouraging an emphasis on seafood were found at sites for Aphrodite (Pafos, Amathous, Baths of Aphrodite and Petra tou Romiou on Cyprus) and Poseidon (Sounion in Attica, Isthmia in Corinthia). Xeralfs suited to pastoral cultures before modern upland irrigation were found at temple sites for Hera (Argive Heraion) and Hermes (Killini in Elis, Panagia on Lemnos). Rendolls suitable for subsistence farms were found at temple sites of Demeter (Eleusis in Attica, Thebes in Boeotia, Yiroulas on Naxos) and Dionysos (Ikaria and Thorikos in Attica, Eretria on Euboea, Isia on Naxos). Fluvents among Neogene sediments suited to large estate farms were found near shrines for Hestia (Hestiaia in Euboea, Olympia in Arkadia), Hephaistos (Hephaistia on Lemnos) and Ares (Geronthrae and Lakedaemon in Laconia). Anthrepts of archaic citadels were found at temple sites for Athena (Acropolis of Athens) and Zeus (Olympia in Arkadia and Dodona in Epirus). Lithic Orthents, with much bare rock exposed, including land of persecuted minorities such as the free Laconians, were found at sites sacred to Persephone (Ploution at Eleusis in Attica), and Hades (Cape Tainaron in Laconia).