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“𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘦𝘴, 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩, 𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥, 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦, 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰, 𝘵𝘸𝘰 𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴, 𝘈𝘣𝘺𝘭𝘢 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘊𝘢𝘭𝘱𝘦.” (Avienus. 𝘖𝘳𝘢 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢. 4th century BCE)

The Pillars of Herakles (Hercules) were important geographical landmarks loaded with significant symbolism; an area grounded in the myths and legends of the ancient Mediterranean civilisations, and the Strait of Gibraltar marked, for them, the western limits of the known and civilised world.

These Pillars are today’s Jebel Musa (Mons Abyla) on the African coast and the Rock of Gibraltar (Mons Calpe) on European shores. Gorham’s Cave, as we know, is located at the base of the latter and first functioned as a shrine for the Phoenicians, later serving other cultures, becoming one of the most important shrine-caves across the whole Mediterranean.

The artefacts recovered from Gorham’s Cave, are testimony to the accumulation of offerings and as a result of other rituals carried out by ancient mariners, such as ceramics, scarabs, rings, fibulae and necklaces.

Gorham’s Cave has provided us with one of the most important collections of scarabs in the Iberian Peninsula.

The scarabs in the image came from the shrine at Gorham’s Cave. The first two are Egyptian in origin, with engraved hieroglyphs, and are from the shrine’s earlier phases (9th to 6th century BCE). You can also see ones with a lion hunting an antelope, a hoplite (Ancient Greek soldier) and finally a mare suckling her foal. These are known as pseudo-Egyptian scarabs. They are more recent, and although they mimic the earlier versions, they do not originate from Egypt.

We hope you like them!


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