The sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron is an early sacred site on the eastern coast of Attica near the Aegean Sea in a small inlet. The inlet has silted up since ancient times, pushing the current shoreline farther from the site. A nearby hill, c. 24 m high and 220 m to the southeast, was inhabited during the Neolithic era, c. 2000 BCE, and flourished particularly from Middle Helladic to early Mycenaean times (2000–1600 BC) as a fortified site (acropolis). Occupation ceased in the LHIIIb period, and the acropolis was never significantly resettled after this time. There is a gap in the occupation of the site from LHIIIb until the 8th century BCE. Brauron was one of the twelve ancient settlements of Attica prior to the synoikismos of Theseus, who unified them with Athens.
The cult of Artemis Brauronia connected the coastal (rural) sanctuary at Brauron with another (urban) sanctuary on the acropolis in Athens, the Brauroneion, from which there was a procession every four years during the Arkteia festival. The tyrant Pisistratus was Brauronian by birth, and he is credited with tranferring the cult to the Acropolis, thus establishing it on the statewide rather than local level. The sanctuary contained a small temple of Artemis, a unique stone bridge, cave shrines, a sacred spring, and a pi-shaped (Π) stoa that included dining rooms for ritual feasting. The unfortified site continued in use until tensions between Athens and the Macedonians the 3rd century BCE caused it to be abandoned. After that time, no archaeologically significant activity occurred at the site until the erection of a small church in the 6th century CE.
As the Greek fleet was preparing to sail to Troy to force the return of Helen, they gathered in Aulis near the Euripus Strait. While there, king Agamemnon killed a stag sacred to the goddess Artemis. The enraged deity caused a contrary wind and eventually forced the king to agree to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia in order to ensure a favorable wind for the Greek fleet. In one version of the myth, a surrogate sacrifice was provided through the divine intervention of Artemis, and the saved girl then became a priestess of the goddess among the Tauri, a people living near the Black Sea in the Crimean peninsula. Subsequent to these events, Iphigenia returns from among the Tauri with the assistance of her brother Orestes. In Euripides' version of the myth, the goddess Athens reveals that Iphigenia will make landfall in Brauron and there be the priestess of Artemis, die, and be buried: