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Disability Ramps Of The Ancient World

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Archaeologist Debby Sneed from California State claim that some holy sanctuaries of ancient Greece were built with disability in mind. Though ramps were not common in the fourth century BCE ancient healing temples are often ringed by these permanent stone structures. So Debby argues that the ancient Greeks planned and constructed these ramps to accommodate those who could not easily use stairs, including the elderly, pregnant women, small children, those with canes and crutches, those being transported on litters, and individuals with impaired mobility.

The sanctuaries dedicated to healing tend to have more ramps surrounding them. Earlier it was assumed that this was for animal sacrifices. But Sneed points out that most of these messy affairs happened on altars outside the temples. Healing sanctuaries at Epidauros and Corinth support the pattern. The one at Corinth only has two ramps but it is built in a way that makes all of its rooms easily accessible. Sneed’s project deemed compelling by other archaeologists, although not everyone is convinced.

The study was published in Antiquity.

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