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Michael Basil Cosmopoulos
University of Missouri, St. Louis (St. Louis, MO 63121-4401)
Bronze Age Eleusis and the Origins of Ancient Greek Secret Cults

The project investigates the origins of one of the most influential ancient Greek Secret Cults, the Eleusinian Mysteries. Extensive archaeological excavations at the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis have brought to light thousands of Bronze Age finds, which remain unpublished in the basement of the local museum. With this project, I seek to publish those finds fully and reconstruct the stratigraphy and chronology of early Eleusis. On the basis of this analysis of the material record, I will reconstruct the sociopolitical, economic, and religious organization of Eleusis in the third and second millennia BC and study the problem of the existence of a Bronze Age cult and its possible continuity into the Dark Age. Finally, through the comparative study of the evidence from Eleusis and other sanctuaries with Mystery cults, I will seek to reach an understanding of the genesis and early development of the phenomenon of ancient Greek Secret Cults.

[Grant products]

Project fields:

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2009 – 1/31/2010