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Journal of archaeology and ancient architecture

Tag Archives: architettura ellenistica

The Gymnasium of Agrigento: Report of the First Excavation Campaign in 2022

Authors: M. Trümper, T. Lappi, A. Fino, C. Blasetti Fantauzzi
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The gymnasium of Agrigento has been excavated between the 1950s and 2005. While parts of a race-track section and a pool were revealed between two stenopoi, the extension of the gymnasium and the existence of a palaestra as well as the construction date could not be securely determined. A project launched in 2019 in cooperation between the Parco Archeologico e Paesaggistico Valle dei Templi di Agrigento and the Freie Universität Berlin aims to solve these questions. Based on the results of a geophysical survey, four trenches were excavated in 2022 in a field to the north of the pool where the palaestra was most likely located. The aim of this paper is to discuss the results of the 2022 campaign. After a brief discussion of the chronology established in previous excavations, the trenches are presented from south (trench 1) to north (trench 4), followed by new insights regarding the architecture. In trenches 1 and 2, well-made ashlar walls were found that are consistent in orientation, building technique, and material with the previously exposed walls of the gymnasium and may have belonged to the searched palaestra. In trench 3, the continuation of the western stenopos appeared. Trench 4 was made at the supposed crossing of this stenopos with a plateia but did not yield any evidence of built structures or street pavements. The analysis of the architecture showed that previously proposed reconstructions are problematic, particularly regarding the architecture of the xystosstoa. Revisions regarding the reconstruction of the Doric order and its chronology are proposed here, suggesting a period between the end of the 3rd and the first half of the 2nd century B.C.

Neoria a Kos

Authors: M. Livadiotti, G. Rocco

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In the context of L. Morricone’s research carried out in Kos in 1935 in the area of the Turkish quarter of Bozuktà, near the port, significant remains of two Hellenistic neosoikoi were discovered, at the time mistakenly believed to be part of the port fortification system. The arrangement and building technique of their partition walls, the dimensions of the compartments and other technical features recall the neosoikoi excavated by the Greek Archaeological Service in 1986-87 further South, always along the harbour inlet, thus providing this new identification hypothesis. Furthermore, a new analysis of the nearby Harbour Baths, excavated on the same occasion by the Italian archaeologist, made it possible to identify further remains of another set of neosoikoi, separated from the other two by a narrow road, and enabled the identification of the back wall on which the long walls of the shipsheds were joined. The bath building would have been built in the 2nd cent. A.D., reusing the Hellenistic partition walls and creating the bathing areas inside the shipsheds, thus retaining their layout. The identification of a new set of shipsheds at another point of the ancient port of Kos further clarifies the extent of the city’s military infrastructure, allowing for a more articulated reconstruction of the port districts, used for different functions: military, cultural and commercial ones. What emerges is an urban landscape in which even the neoria contribute to shaping the image of a city that aims to show itself as rich and important.

La Fontana Arcaica di S. Biagio

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finoThis paper aims to provide the first results of a new autoptical analysis on the structures of the archaic fountain in Agrigento, known as the Santuario rupestre of S. Biagio. The monumental system, located just outside the city-walls, on the north-eastern slopes of the Rupe Atenea, behind a rock face in which is developed an anthropic cave system, is made up mainly of two parts: the building of the western basins and, forehead to the east, a fenced yard. After the first investigations directed by Pirro Marconi in 1926, Giuseppe Cultrera, in 1932, unearthed the whole monumental complex. Since the discovery, the monument was subjected to several restoration works, some of which quite invasive, that determined a difficult reading of the architectural structure in its landscape. A new analysis on the structures has been done, in order to specify the architectural configuration during the life phases of the monument and to retrace the natural and anthropical processes that affected the site since its foundation. Moreover, it has been suggested a datation within the Hellenistic period, providing comparisons with the eastern Mediterranean world.

Lo hestiatorion dell’Asklepieion di Kos

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Livadiotti hestiatorion

This paper resumes the text of the IV mimiamb of Herodas, which, set at the Asklepieion of Kos, tells of the visit at the sanctuary of two women and their sacrifice of a cock to the god. In his tale the poet describes the monuments and works of art encountered and admired by the characters, description that has been widely studied and analyzed especially with regard to the altar, with the statues made by the sons of Praxiteles, and the famous paintings on the walls of the pronaos of the temple. So far, however, no scholar has focused on the last verses of the poem, in which, after the sacrifice of the cock, the two women purposed to go and eat their meal in the nearby oikoi. Taking inspiration from the text of Herodas, the article will confirm the destination as a ritual banquet hall of the building immediately to the south of the temple, the so-called “building D”, generally known as abaton; towards it, in fact, the two women may have gone after sacrifice to eat their meal.

La rete idrica della Kos di età romana: persistenze e modificazioni rispetto alla città ellenistica

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In the town of Kos, the excavations carried out by the Italian archaeologists between 1912 and 1945 and the new investigations by the Greek Archaeological Service have revealed a complex system of water supply based on the integration, occurred during the Roman period, of a water network already set up since the foundation of the city, that took place in 366 BC on the basis of an urban Hippodamian scheme; this defined also a urban drainage system for the disposal of stormwater designed together with the road network. The water supply could rely on abundant natural springs located in the hills south-east of the city, supplemented by private wells and cisterns. The water usage involved public fountains and nymphaea, and, especially in Roman times, several bath buildings, whose first installation dates in a period between I and II cent. AD, with later changes until the mid-fourth century, when some of them changed their function and were transformed in religious buildings. To fed the thermae, an aqueduct was built in imperial period, although the baths were always equipped with storage tanks to compensate any reduction of the flow; to rationalize the use of water, the discharge of the thermal baths was conducted through pipes to flush the sewers of public latrines, always built nearby, while the houses were equipped with private sanitary facilities whose sewers used the drainage channels in the middle of the streets, later reworkings of the original channels of the first Hellenistic age. In conclusion, the water supply systems and wastewater disposal witness the remarkable persistence of the original Kos town water systems and above all attest to how the study of water management systems of a city may improve knowledge of its topography at the different stages of development.