Abstract View

Volume 27 Issue 12 (December 2017)

GSA Today

Bookmark and Share

Article, pp. 4-9 | Full Text | PDF (463KB)

Tectonic Klippe Served the Needs of Cult Worship, Sanctuary of Zeus, Mount Lykaion, Peloponnese, Greece

Search GoogleScholar for

Search GSA Today


George H. Davis§

Dept. of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA


Mount Lykaion is a rare, historical, cultural phenomenon, namely a Late Bronze Age through Hellenistic period (ca. 1500–100 BC) mountaintop Zeus sanctuary, built upon an unusual tectonic feature, namely a thrust klippe. Recognition of this klippe and its physical character provides the framework for understanding the coupling between the archaeology and geology of the site. It appears that whenever there were new requirements in the physical/cultural expansion of the sanctuary, the overall geologic characteristics of the thrust klippe proved to be perfectly adaptable. The heart of this analysis consists of detailed geological mapping, detailed structural geologic analysis, and close cross-disciplinary engagement with archaeologists, classicists, and architects.

§ See related digital maps.

Manuscript received 6 July 2017; revised manuscript received 5 Sept. 2017; manuscript accepted 8 Sept. 2017. Posted online 6 Oct. 2017.

© The Geological Society of America, 2017.