Hellenic Speleological Society

The Hellenic Speleological Society (HSS) is a distinguished non-profit organization based in Athens, Greece. Founded in November 1950 by pioneering Greek speleologists Yannis Petrocheilos and Anna Petrochilou, the society is deeply committed to the scientific study and safe exploration of caves in Greece.

hellenic speleological society

The Hellenic Speleological Society has played an important role in advancing the scientific understanding of Greece’s rich natural cave systems over the past 70+ years. Their systematic exploration, documentation, and research has revealed important details about the geology, biology, archeology, and paleontology of caves in Greece. Their educational and public outreach efforts have also helped promote the conservation of this unique subterranean environment.


The primary aim of the HSS is to advance the scientific understanding of Greek caves. Another key focus is promoting safe caving practices.

The main goals and activities of the Hellenic Speleological Society include:

  • Maintaining a database of over 10,000 mapped caves in Greece
  • Publishing scientific papers and educational materials about speleology
  • Training volunteers, especially speleologists and teachers, in cave biology
  • Raising public awareness about cave conservation
  • Collaborating with research institutions in Greece and internationally
  • Operating a cave rescue team to assist in emergencies

Recognition and Memberships

HSS has gained widespread recognition for its efforts. Since 1951, it has been a regular member of the International Union of Speleology (UIS), the European Speleological Federation (FSE), and the recently founded Balkan Speleological Union (BSU). The Academy of Athens has also awarded the society for its outstanding contributions to the field.

Outreach and Education

Public awareness and education form a critical part of the HSS’s mission. The society actively publishes scientific papers, training materials, and other educational resources. It also conducts training programs targeted at volunteers, speleologists, and educators in cave biology and other related subjects.

One of the standout aspects of this organization is its focus on safety. With a dedicated cave rescue team in place, the society collaborates with state agencies and other volunteer groups to ensure the well-being of caving enthusiasts. The team is highly trained and well-equipped to handle any emergency that may arise during caving activities. The society further bolsters its safety initiatives by offering educational programs aimed at teaching safe caving practices to both novice and experienced spelunkers.

Major Projects

Notable initiatives by the HSS include the first scientific study of the Labyrinth of Messara cave in Crete conducted in 1999.

Moreover, the society’s exhaustive database of caves in Greece serves as a foundational resource for research and conservation activities, thereby adding another layer to its credibility.


Collaboration lies at the heart of HSS’s activities. The organization frequently partners with research institutions, universities, and government agencies, both within Greece and internationally. A key partner is the Hellenic Institute of Speleological Research, founded in 2001, which has similar objectives and helps in various scientific and educational endeavors.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Sina 32, Athens 10672
  • Tel: +30 2103617824

Website: https://ese.edu.gr/

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