Βεργίνα 1990-1997 : το ιερό της μητέρας των ΘεώνPart of : Το Αρχαιολογικό Έργο στη Μακεδονία και στη Θράκη ; Vol.10, No.Α, 1996, pages 41-54
Vergina : the sanctuary of the mother of Gods
“I ate of the drum, I drank of the cymbal, I carried the vessel; I descended into the chamber”. Those words were typically used to describe the formalities of initiation undergone by those faithful to the great and very ancient female deity worshipped throughout Greece as the Mother of the God, whose cult was particularly strong in Macedonia. The cult was associated with Mysteries wh ose principal features were dance and loud music, elevating the initiates into an orgiastic state. At a point which cannot be later than the sixth century BC, the cult of the Mother of the Gods merged with that of the Phyrgian deity Cy- bele, goddess of nature, mountain peaks and walls, assimilating her visual rep resentation, with the conical head-covering and the lion as the chief features.The poet Pindar founded a Metroon (temple to the Mother of the Gods) at Thebes, and there was a famous one in Athens. Excavation work on the Met roon at Vergina began in 1990, and the seasons after that year revealed a large and complex Hellenistic building sited on top of a Classical temple of the same type where the cult of the Mother had been celebrated for centuries. The Hel - lenistic building consists of sacred rooms where the cult objects and the terra cotta figurines of the goddess were kept and a number of larger chambers which may have been used for the secret rites of initiation. The wealth of finds of pottery and statuary is an indication that the cult of the Great Goddess was very popular among the ordinary people. A votive inscription incised on a black cantharus of the fourth century BC confirms that the goddess was being worshipped in that period. Terracotta figurines with the figures of Aphrodite, Persephone and Sarapis and other distinctive items (terracotta loom weights, lead seals, lead plaques and coins) are indicative of the particular characteri stics of this mystical cult.The large building of the Metroon, consisting of unfired bricks on stone foundations, was burned to the ground in the mid-second century BC.