The experience of religious ritual played a key role in ancient societies, as it negotiated ideas of cosmology and identity. By addressing the cosmos, participation in rituals forged ideas of belonging, which increased social cohesion and negotiated power permeating all aspects of society. Despite its importance, ancient Greek ritual experience has only been studied from static temporal and spatial viewpoints. Religious processions, open-air ritual re-enactments and performances operated in three-dimensional spaces, linked to the movement of the participants and affected by the play of light, shadows and celestial bodies visible at the time when they were held. These elements were instrumental in shaping the experience and memories of the attendants, influencing the society as a whole. STAR-AGESS will provide a new approach to the study of ancient Greek ritual practice by recreating immersive environments that incorporate ancient sky and astronomical simulations, horizons, detailed topography and architectural 3D models of the sanctuaries at Sounion, Aegina and Perachora. These three key case studies were selected as they have enough extant remains and written information to allow meaningful reconstructions in an extra-urban environment. They will be virtually explored at specific times of the day/night and year to gain insights into religious practice, ritual timing, astronomical connections, and into how they might have shaped experience and social memory through specific socio-mythical associations. To do so, the Experienced Researcher (ER) will reconstruct the total environment with the aid of targeted hands-on-research training, using advanced 3D techniques, landscape analysis and current theoretical approaches on the cognitive formation of space and experience in ritual performance. These methods will enhance the ER’s profile with cutting-edge techniques that will situate her at the forefront of research and boost her career.
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