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ANCIENT AGORA
Cartographie Impression Impression
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Informations générales
Numéro de notice 1703
Année de l'opération 2009
Date de modification 2011-01-22
Nature de l'opération Fouille - Programmée
Institution(s) ASCSA
Fiche(s) associée(s) 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2016
AR 56 (2009-2010) 3-6
Notice
Ancient Agora. J. M. Camp (ASCSA) reports on the 2009 excavation season. In section Γ, investigation of three Classical commercial or non-monumental public buildings south of the Tholos, first excavated in the 1950s, continued. Two long deep pits cut into bedrock beneath one of the floors contained debris including fourth-century BC amphora sherds. A tile-lined well in the courtyard of the complex was filled with debris reflecting domestic or commercial use (numerous pyramidal loomweights, squat lekythoi, pyxides and cooking wares). The pottery, including numerous late red-figure sherds, dates to the first half of the fourth century BC, a date confirmed by fragments of a Panathenaic amphora preserving part of the name of Dieitrephes, archon in 384/383 BC. This well is among the earliest tile lined structures, representing a technology which became common from the third century BC onwards. It was evidently abandoned during construction since it reached a depth of only 3m (the average for a well of this period being 12−15m). A single dikast’s token (stamped with the letter Β on both sides) indicates civic activity in the area.
The large section ΒΘ, overlying the building identified as the Stoa Poikile, was excavated at its east and west ends (Fig. 1). At the west the foundations of early modern buildings lay on the orientation of the 19th-century streets. The disarticulated remains of several horses were found, as well as a large shallow lime-slaking pit. These burials date to the 16th century, when this area was just outside the urban limits, and were cut into fill of the same date. Typical among the sherds collected were slip-painted wares (open bowls decorated with yellow or white concentric circles on a brown background) and green monochrome sgraffito. In the absence of architecture, it seems that the area may have been used as a dumping ground at the edge of the inhabited area. Lower layers produced a variety of Middle Byzantine pottery (greenpainted and brown-painted wares, sgraffito, etc.) similar in date to the 12th- to 13th-century houses found immediately to the west (see Hesperia 66 [1997], 521−46). The associated architecture, mostly rubble walls, is visible in the scarps. In the eastern area, walls of modest Byzantine houses (made of assorted blocks, stones and tiles set in clay) follow the northeast-southwest orientation established by the course of the Eridanos river (Fig. 2). Various installations were found: a clay-lined rectangular pit or hearth, the lower part of a large pithos and the mouth of a large sunken pithos with its cover slab still in place. Pottery suggests a 10th-century date for most of the walls. This area overlies the front of the Stoa Poikile, thus explaining the high incidence of good, worked blocks of limestone and marble re-used in the later walls.
In section ΒΗ, most of the Middle Byzantine walls which overlie the eastern end of the Stoa Poikile were removed, exposing more of the back wall and two interior columns of the stoa. Material recovered supports a 10th century date for most of the walls. The Late Roman rubble partition walls within the stoa were also cleared. The building was first divided longitudinally, with walls running between the interior Ionic columns; somewhat later, cross-walls running from the interior to the exterior columns were added, dividing the interior space into smaller units. A concentration of bronze coins in the Late Roman levels suggests that the new rooms were used as shops. Associated pottery dates these modifications to the fifth and sixth centuries: the building went out of use at the end of the sixth century, after which it was extensively quarried for building material. Assorted spolia recovered from the Middle Byzantine walls include a fragmentary inscription, probably of the fourth or third century BC, preserving only parts of three lines of text. This comes from near the top of the stone, which carries a cyma reversa moulding. A partly-preserved  cutting on top suggests that the stone carried an added relief or Herm. More of the original masonry of the back wall of the stoa was exposed, confirming the fine and careful construction which has long been observed at the western end of the building. Newly exposed this year is a run of the exterior of the euthynteria supporting the  orthostates. Two terracotta pipelines (Fig. 3), previously located behind the western end of the stoa, were seen to continue parallel to its back wall, starting at about the level of the top of the euthynteria. The smaller, upper pipe dates to the fourth century BC. The larger, lower one is  contemporary with the stoa, dating to the second quarter of the fifth century BC; it has been traced some 100m to the west in rescue excavations by the Archaeological Service and in the  Kerameikos, where it passes out through the Dipylon Gate. It is tempting to associate this  conduit with the passage in Plutarch (Life of Kimon, 13.8) where Kimon is credited with ‘converting the Academy from a waterless and arid spot into a well-watered grove, which he provided with clear running tracks and shady walks’.
In section ΒΖ the plan of the Classical commercial building was clarified with the identification of a row of at least six adjacent rooms, all opening directly on to the street to the west. Work concentrated on the two northernmost rooms. Clearance of a collapsed ‘cistern’, associated with a third-century BC shaft to the east, revealed an intact Mycenaean alabastron (14th- to 13th century BC), implying that the collapsed feature may be the bedrock roof of a Mycenaean chamber tomb rather than a Hellenistic cistern (noting the previous discovery of two similar tombs to the south and east of the ancient road: K2: 5 and J−K2: 2 = Hesperia 72 [2003], 248 and 254−73). Two further pyres (Fig. 5) bring the total for this building to 12, the largest concentration found within a single building in the Agora. The deposits again consist of several small cooking pots, a drinking cup, a lamp and small saucers and/or plates of the second half of the fourth century BC. From a level of Late Roman fill at the north came the strut or support for a marble statue, carved in the form of a palm tree (Fig. 4). An immediate parallel is the small statue of Hermes (S1054) found in a well on the northern slope of the Areopagos (Hesperia 8 [1939], 236−38). A large collection of organic material recovered from water sieving over the past 35 years was processed and archived.
Mots-clés Canalisation - Édifice Public - Espace commercial - Espace public - Flore - Inscription - Installation hydraulique - Pierre - Puits - Sculpture - Stoa - Voierie
Chronologie Âge du bronze - Antiquité - Classique - Hellénistique - Romaine - Période byzantine - Médiobyzantine - Période médiévale/franque - Période moderne
Bibliographie
Référence bibliographique Unpublished field report, ASCSA (J. M. Camp)
Auteur de la notice Robert PITT
AVERTISSEMENT
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