Tour of Attica: March 14-18

My apologies all for the long delay in posting. I had to go back to the US for a bit for a family thing and then I was on an archaeological tour of Attica.  Below are some of the pictures from that tour. The tour is part of a collaborative class with both ACG students and Duke students participating. They have various digital history projects that they are creating which require them to have a fairly extensive knowledge of the terrain in and around Athens. So the tour took them (and me) to the major points and across major roads around Attica.

View from Penteli (480x640) View from Mt. Penteli looking over Athens. Mt. Penteli is the mountain from where the Parthenon marble was extracted.
Quarry Road_Penteli (480x640)The remains of the quarry road that the workers would have hauled the large marble stones down.
The memorial of the turning point in the battle at Marathon (Persians vs. Greeks). The monument (a sin269 (2) (480x640)gle Ionic column) was erected in the 460s to coincide with the establishment of an annual funeral for the Marathonian dead.
Athenian Tumulus_Marathon (640x480)The tumulus where the Athenians who died in the battle of Marathon (490 BCE) would have been buried. A more elaborate monument to the war dead was erected in Athens proper.
Also at Marathon is a sanctuary to the Egyptian gods, who were a regular part of Greek cult practice. Not much of this site remains but the base of what was presumaSanctuary of the Egyptian Gods_Maratho (640x480)bly an Egyptian style pyramid and several entrance statues like you see here. There was also an extensive Roman bath complex built by Herodes Atticus, who was sort of the Bill Gates of his day. He is also known to have put up the funding for the Herodion, a theater that sits at the base of the Acropolis in Athens proper.
These are the remains of an extensive complex to Demeter at Eleusis. In the center of the image is the telesterion where the mysteries of Demeter (Eleusinian Mysteries) were practiced in secret. Demeter was a goddess of agriculture so the thinking is that the secret rituals had to do with agriculture in some way.View of Telesterion_Eleusis (640x480)

Demeter_Eleusis (480x640)I think this has become my new favorite statue. It is a statue of Demeter which seems to function almost as a column and was found in the Eleusinian complex.  You’ll notice the basket on her head and the iconography on the side of the basket which has the symbols of agriculture.

 

 

 

Fortification Bastion at ErythraiFortification walls and the bastions at Erythrai. This particular site in antiquity was frequently fought over by both the Thebans and the Athenians. It sits at the top of a mountain giving it views to the south which in antiquity would have been mostly Athenian farmland. To the north are the mountains leading into Boeotian territory.
Fortification wall and reconstructed bastions at Agosthina. This particular set of fortifications was meant to protect the interior from attack by sea as Agosthina was a coastal town. Today, it is a seaside resort for Athenians in the summer.Fortifications_Agosthina (480x640)
The stoa (the remains of which you see here) at Brauron is unique as it contained mostly dining rooms rather than storefronts.  It is part of a larger complex which includes a temple to Artemis and the ‘grave’ of the mythological figure Iphigenia.Stoa at Brauron (480x640)
This is the deme theater at Thorikos, which was a mining site for Athens. Here they mined for silDeme Theater at Thorikos (640x480)ver with which Athenian coinage was made.  This particular theater shows how the ancient Athenians used the terrain for their needs. It also is evidence that perhaps early orchestras (the floor area at center of theater) were not circular or semi-circular but rather polygonal. If you look in the distance across the water, you can see an island. This island was a prison island where the military junta which ran Greece from 1967-1974 imprisoned their political enemies, most notably those who were politically liberal.

 

There is something positively breathtaking about the temple of Poseidon at Sounion.  It sits literally on the edge of a cliff at the southernmost point of Attica. Temple of Poseidon_Sounion (640x480)
View at Sounion (480x640)The view from the temple of Poseidon at sunset.