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Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia

Last Update: Nov 2013
Archaeological site, Cultural heritage SPARTI , LACONIA , GREECE

Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia - Overview

The Sanctuary was founded in the 10th century B.C. and at the beginning was not monumental since it was a temenos consisted of only one altar in the open air. At the end of the 9th century B.C. this older altar was replaced by a larger one, this time built with stones.   The first temple having stone foundation was constructed in the middle of the 8th century B.C. The temple suffered great destruction caused by flood at the beginning of the 6th century B.C. but soon after was built again.
  The large Archaic temple which is preserved until our days , was constructed at that time. The temple consists of cella and pronaos with two doric columns at the East side. A significant restoration of the temple and the altar was done probably at the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. Finally, during the 3rd century A.D. (after 225 A.D.) the Roman horse-shoe shaped amphitheatre was built in front of the temple, while the temple itself was probably restored. The amphitheatre was intended to facilitate the people attending the sacred ceremonies that were taking place inside the temple, in favour of the godess. At the same time they built another oblong altar but a bit closer to the temple.
  The Sanctuary was excavated by the British Archaeological School At Athens during the years 1906-1910. The results of the investigations were published by R. M. Dawkins et al. (1928), in the Annual of the British School At Athens, under the title: "The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia at Sparta".
  No restoration work has yet been undertaken on the site.
  The most important monuments of the site are:
•In the area of the sanctuary which is located in the ancient "demos" (district) of Limnes at Sparta, the excavations conducted by the British Archaeological School At Athens, at the beginning of the century, revealed remains of successive phases in the construction of the temple of Artemis Orthia. The last phase is dated to the Hellenistic period but interventions were also made in the temple , during the Roman period.
•East of the temple is preserved the big oblong altar which was made of stone slabs.
• South of these sacred places was founded a large horse-shoe shaped amphitheatre which is nowadays preserved in a quite good condition. This construction was used by worshippers and people attending the ceremonies and the games of youths, which were taking place at the area of the sanctuary.
•The clay masks which were found at the area are an indication of the orgiastic ceremonies.
The marble stelai depicting sickles and the inscribed altars are connected with their donors. These were children which had successfully passed the test of whipping before they could enter the adolescents' teams.

Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia - Map

Executives & Departments

  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 27310 23315, 27310 24359, Fax: 27310 21516
    5th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Sparta

Principals / HQ / participations...

Activities / facilities / services / specialization

Archaeological site

Art & culture

Visiting Information • No public access • Visible from outside
Ancient monuments • Altars / Archaic Hellenism, 1050-479 BC / Hellenistic period, 323-31 BC / Roman period, 31 BC-AD 324 • Temples / Archaic period, 700-480 BC / Hellenistic period, 323-31 BC
Ancient sanctuary • Sanctuary of Artemis

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