It has long been suggested that the visions of the Delphic oracle on Mount Parnassus could be caused by intoxicating gases that exploded from the depths of the earth as a result of seismic activity. A new study shows that many other Greek sanctuaries were specially built on cracks left after earthquakes throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
Iain Stewart, a geologist from the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom), in his study showed that this was the principle of choosing places for the construction of temples and other structures in Mycenae, Ephesus, Knida and Hierapolis.
For example, in Cnidus, whose ruins are in southwestern Turkey, the locals built the temple in the same place even after the earthquake destroyed it.
The scientist claims that this was not just a mistake. Stewart notes that the Greeks viewed the underworld as a shelter for the soul after death and a source of mystical power and knowledge. Earthquakes were then considered mystical phenomena, and not natural disasters caused by the motion of tectonic plates, such a kind of greeting from Hades. Historical and geological records show that earthquakes often occurred during the heyday of ancient Greek civilization.
Stewart suggests that one should look at the ancient sanctuaries in other parts of the world – they could also be associated with earthquakes. At the same time, the geologist recognizes the scarcity of his knowledge in archeology. He says that his work first of all should provoke other, more qualified researchers to study this topic.