After returning to Athens from Smyrna, Gilbert joined della Seta and Doro Levi in the School’s excavations at a recently discovered cave near Pharsalos in Thessaly. It was, and still is, noted for two inscriptions carved near the entrance, indicating that the cave was dedicated to the Nymphs. They hoped for substantial results and Gilbert was going to pay for the dig’s expenses but they were so disappointed at the apparently meagre dedicatory offerings of terracotta figurines outside the cave’s entrance, that it was decided to use Gilbert’s funds for a subsequent dig elsewhere the next year.
In his recent publication of The Cave of the Nymphs at Pharsalus, Robert Wagman concludes that the assemblage of votive finds is actually typical of rural shrines of nymphs and fairly represents the offerings of all classes of society at rural shrines. Since the artifacts which had been entrusted to the local museum are no longer findable, Wagman was able to make his conclusions about them based solely on his study of Levi’s publication and the excavation photographs, which had been taken and developed by Gilbert, and now published in Wagman’s book.