The aim is to research the form, functions and development of ancient sanctuaries as well as their role in social and economic life. Cult activities are to be reconstructed on the basis of artefacts, biofacts and written sources. Currently, the focus is on the Artemision of Ephesus, one of the most important sanctuaries of the ancient Mediterranean world. Not only the beginnings and early phases of the sanctuary and its cult are considered, but also the late periods and the medieval after-use are in focus. The Artemis sanctuary at Lousoi offers the opportunity to examine the range of variation in cults of the same deity.

From an urban sanctuary to supraregional importance

The Artemision was the main sanctuary of the polis of Ephesos. In the Archaic period it gained su-praregional importance. This is owed in particular to the commitment of the Lycians whose last King Croesus was the most important benefactor of the first large marble temple (Dipteros 1). The successor building constructed in the late 4th century BCE (Dipteros 2) was considered to be one of the seven world wonders by ancient writers. From this point on Artemis Ephesia was venerated in the entire Mediterranean.

Reconstruction and re-dating of the early temples 

Based on the analysis of the stratigraphy it is now possible to present a well-founded and exact reconstruction of the early temple buildings and associated structures. In contrast to the preliminary reports, the detailed study of the pottery finds yielded a revised chronology for the earliest temple buildings which play a key role within early Greek architecture.

From context to cult

The contextual analysis of the find assemblages has made it possible to reconstruct the cult activities and dedication practices. The bone remains are the primary evidence for the animal sacrifices and the subsequent feasts. Offerings made of gold and electrum play a prominent role in the Archaic Arte-mision. The electrum coins discovered in and around Naos 2 provide crucial evidence for the dating of the beginnings of coin minting.



Principal Investigator

Michael Kerschner


Wolfgang Fischer-Bossert


Gerhard Forstenpointner (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Institute for Pathobiology und Anatomy)


since 2002