Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unravelling the Eleusinian Mysteries

Unravelling the Eleusinian Mysteries by Patricia Duff — Kickstarter

Exploring those ancient beliefs and rituals; linking them to the archaeology of this sacred site: making the stones come alive !

I'm an archaeologist and a researcher at the University of Cambridge and I want to publish a story ... 

If you have heard of Eleusis you'll know it is an archaeological site in Greece of particular significance. It is significant because it was the spiritual centre of an important religious faith - the sanctuary of worshippers of Demeter the Earth Goddess and her daughter Persepone whose abduction to the underworld was the cause of Winter - or rather, a season of dormancy.

The set of beliefs surrounding fertility, birth, death and re-birth were so important to the peoples of the Early Bronze Age, that the cult flourished for over 2000 years.

It is known from the times of the Minoans in Crete and the Mycenaeans in Greece, until it became absorbed by the Romans and succumbed to Christianity in AD 347... And yet, even recently, there is strong evidence that it's adherents were still practicing their devotions less than a couple of hundred years ago ... and perhaps still do today.

Initiation rites into the cult was known as the Mysteries and no one seems to know exactly what was involved. Although they have been depicted on various marble plaques, nothing detailed, written at the time, so far has come to light. All that remains is what we know as the Lesser Mysteries and the Greater Mysteries... and I want to find out more.

The story I want to write is not a myth nor a history in the usual sense ... All over the world, important archaeological sites are just that: ‘sites’; with their significance in the role of human history and their wonderful stories left a mystery. I want to write the story linking it with various areas of the archaeological site, so that you could walk around the area and understand much more about what you are seeing.

I want to bring the architecture of the archaeological site alive with this story. I hope you will help me - and also benefit from this project.

Having done much of my research, I plan to travel to the site in April, when the archaeologists will be working there. I will be keeping a photographic Journal of my trip - so you can enjoy that too.

Of course I will want to involve the local community to help tell the story as this is, after all, their heritage. When I've published this story I hope it will benefit them as much as it will those who go to visit the site.

By the way, should I become oversubscribed, I have a few other such deserving story-projects in mind.

I have already done much of the research into the story of Eleusis and even now I am gathering more information which I am anxious to share; it remains for me to visit the site and the museum there, see how it all fits together and construct some walks.

I am already in touch with the archeologists working on the site and they are keen that I join them to help bring maximum exposure to this extraordinary place. It is planned that I visit in April when they will be working there.

Of course many things could happen to impede my work: accident, injury and political instability... but even these can be overcome. I will keep everyone updated on my progress here - and will welcome feedback as I go along.

Of course, as with all Kickstarter projects, if I don't make £5000, I get nothing ... so please be generous !