‘Temples’ in the Neolithic and Copper Age in Southeast Europe

  • Clemens Lichter Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe
Keywords: Neolithic, Chalcolithic, religion, cult buildings, sanctuary, Anatolia, Southeastern Europe


Several buildings dated to the Neolithic period and Copper Age in Southeast Europe have been designated as ‘temple’, ‘sanctuary’, ‘cultic structure’ or ‘place of cult’ in scholarly works. The present contribution discusses the problems of identifying religious architecture; it elucidates some of these archaeological records and evaluates arguments with which the designation ‘temple’ or ‘cultic structure’ is justified. Thereby, the author concludes that no structure has been found among the houses excavated in Southeast Europe that can be classified as a ‘sanctuary’. Instead, there are many indications that ritual activities took place in every dwelling and that these were specially decorated for such occasions. The author also considers so-called ‘special buildings’ of the Neolithic period in the Near East and discusses their absence in Southeast Europe.


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How to Cite
LichterC. (2014). ‘Temples’ in the Neolithic and Copper Age in Southeast Europe. Documenta Praehistorica, 41, 119-136. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.41.7