The scattered nature of the archaeological finds in the area of the ancient deme and the importance of the type and location of these finds for determining the location of Acharnai make a catalogue of the material evidence in the area desirable. The finds have been organized by their location within the region of the deme, based upon the names assigned in Chapter 1 to each locus of settlement, and in rough chronological order within each heading. The deme cemeteries, which, by definition, are not included in any of the settlement sites, have been listed with the finds for the site designated ‘Aghia Saranda’; this is due to the fact that they are most useful for demonstrating the extent of that settlement on the northern and eastern edges.
Wherever possible, the information provided not only refers the reader to the map on page 11 but also to the work on Acharnai published in 2004 by Maria Platonos-Yiota, which is more archaeological in nature than the present volume. Other entries are derived from the information contained in various other sources, including Archaeological Reports and Greek newspapers.
This gazetteer is intended only to be a starting reference point and to clarify various points of the text, particularly that of the first chapter. For that reason, each entry contains a minimum of description and little analysis; interested readers should consult the present volume and the bibliographical references of each entry for more information.
The Aghia Saranda Settlement Site
Odos Salaminios 35
Six geometric tombs were discovered here in August 1980 containing a variety of painted pottery. Some of the pottery was painted solely with geometric patterns, while other pieces contained figural representation as well. Indications are that the tombs should be dated to the third quarter of the eighth century BCE. Their proximity to later important sites within the deme, including the theatre, as well as the location of later cemeteries in the area, indicate that the main locus of the settlement in this area was further to the west, and gradually extended further and further east as time passed.
Platonos-Yiota 2004, pp. 119–23.
(p.198) Deme Cemetery: Odos Dekeleias and Demosthenous
The remains of forty-eight pyres dating to the eighth and seventh centuries BCE, as well as some from the classical period (fifth century BCE) were discovered. They were very close together within a relatively small area, only some 120 square metres. The earlier graves seem to cluster on the western edge of the cemetery, which indicates that as time progressed and the settlement got larger, the boundaries were pushed eastward, a conclusion which is reinforced by the slightly earlier graves found just to the west of this cemetery on Odos Salaminios. The classical graves date particularly to the second quarter and middle of the fifth century, and some of them were discovered on top of earlier pyres. Numerous lekythoi bearing mythological and Dionysiac scenes were discovered in the context of the classical burials, including some from the workshop of the Beldam painter. The modern road Dekeleias seems to follow the same path as the ancient road between Acharnai and Dekeleia, at least in this area, which indicates that this cemetery followed the line of the ancient road as was common.
Odos Themistokleous 4–6: Deme Cemetery
A second major deme cemetery has been located to the north and west of the modern centre, with burials beginning in the eighth century BCE and continuing to the fourth century CE. At least forty-two graves of various types have been uncovered in this particular location. This cemetery delimits the northern boundary of the site associated with Aghia Saranda, and its exceptionally long period of use indicates continuous habitation of the site from the Geometric through the late Roman periods.
Platonos-Yiota 2004, pp. 142–8.
IG II2 1206 and 1207
These two inscriptions have been associated with the settlement around Aghia Saranda. IG II2 1207 was discovered built into the walls of the church, while IG II2 1206, with no precise findspot recorded in Inscriptiones Graecae, has been traditionally associated with the same spot. Both inscriptions are dated to the fourth century BCE.
(p.199) SEG 43.26
In 1992 Georgios Steinhauer published a stele bearing two inscriptions of the deme of Acharnai, dated to the period of Demetrios of Phaleron. The stele had been reused as a cover for a Roman-era drain and was found in the courtyard of the church of Aghios Ioannis, on the western side of the centre of modern Menidhi. The texts on the stele indicate that it was set up in the sanctuary of Athena Hippia, also referenced in IG II2 1206 and 1207.
Steinhauer 1992, passim.
Odos Liosion and Odos Salaminios: The Deme Theatre
Discovered in 2007, the theatre is a semicircular limestone construction. It has between eleven and thirteen rows of seating, with a diazoma between the tenth and eleventh rows of seats. Part of the skēnē and orchestra are also preserved; pottery sherds discovered during the rescue excavations indicate that the theatre was constructed probably by the mid-fourth century BCE, although the excavators have not yet committed themselves to dating the structure in print.
Whitley 2007, p. 8; 〈www.episkinion.org〉.
Aghios Ioannis: The Roman Baths
The inscription published by Steinhauer, discovered in the courtyard of Aghios Ioannis and reused as a drain cover in the Roman period, was discovered in conjunction with the remains of a bath complex. This bath complex was relatively large, containing at least ten rooms, and the lack of domestic architectural remains associated with the baths indicates that it was probably a public complex.
Archaeological Reports 40 (1993–4); Platonos-YGiota 2004, pp. 188–95.
Aghios Gianne and Odos Liosion: Roman Farmhouses and Ancient Roads
The remains of a house of the Roman era were discovered in the courtyard of Aghios Gianne, also located on Odos Liosion. These remains are, however, too far away to be directly associated with the bath complex. They do seem to be associated with a section of ancient road 6.8 metres long, also discovered in the courtyard of the church. A late Roman house was discovered on Odos Liosion much closer to the remains of the baths, but chronologically it is too late to be associated with that complex.
Platonos-Yiota 2004, pp. 108–10, 165, 171.
(p.200) The Settlement Site near Yerovouno and Lykotrypa
The Menidhi Tholos Tomb
A well-preserved Mycenaean tholos tomb, dated to the late fourteenth or early thirteenth century BCE. The tomb was excavated in the late nineteenth century by the German Archaeological Institute. The relative lack of other Mycenaean remains in the immediate vicinity has led scholars to postulate that the settlement associated with the tomb was elsewhere. Discoveries in the dromos of the tomb included pottery that formed a continuous chronological sequence from the Geometric to the classical periods; some pottery showed signs of ritualistic burning. The dromos finds indicate both that the occupant of the tomb received honours in the form of an anonymous hero cult in later periods and also that there was a lengthy and continuous pattern of settlement in the area.
Lolling et al. 1880; Wolters 1888; Wolters 1889; Hope Simpson 1958/9;Travlos 1971, p. 1; Diamant 1982, p. 43; Mylonas 1948, p. 68; Vermeule 1979, p. 223 n. 24; Pelon 1976; Antonaccio 1994c,pp. 104–9; Platonos-Yiota 2004, pp. 112–16;Coldstream 1976; Whitley 1988.
Graves in Lykotrypa
Graves of the Geometric period have been discovered in Lykotrypa. They are located to the east of the Menidhi tholos tomb, on Odos Thrakes. As the pottery offerings in the dromos of the tholos also begin in the Geometric period, this evidence should be taken to indicate that a settlement was located in the vicinity of Lykotrypa during the Geometric period.
Platonos-Yiota 2004, p. 136.
The Walls of Yerovouno
Quarry-stone foundations of walls, enclosing an area of roughly 500 by 200 metres, were first reported by Milchhöfer in Yerovouno. The walls seem to date to the classical or Hellenistic periods, according to the pottery remains from the area. Subsequent scholars have identified these remains as a fortification of the Hellenistic period.
(p.201) Grave Stele of a Man from Teithras
Among the ruins of a late wall on Yerovouno was discovered a fragmentary grave stele of the fourth century BCE. This monument recorded the burial of an Athenian citizen whose demotic indicated his ancestral deme was Teithras, and also a woman who could be either his wife or daughter. The presence of the grave stele in this area, and the distance from Teithras, indicate that these people were living in the vicinity of Yerovouno when they died.
Vanderpool 1966, p. 282.
The Temenos of Herakles
Worship of Herakles in Acharnai is attested as early as the sixth century BCE by a dedicatory inscription found in the wall of Aghios Vlasios in the centre of Menidhi, recording the dedication of one Hippotherides of Acharnai, who also made a dedication to Athena in Athens around the same time. The evidence of the deme cemeteries noted above, however, means that the temenos in which Hippotherides’ dedication was set up cannot be in the centre of Menidhi. A sanctuary of Herakles was discovered in 1959 near Ano Limni Zophra, including numerous fragments of sculpture, votive reliefs, and inscriptions. They include a relief showing Herakles and the Nemean Lion, flanked by Cerberus and the Hydra, another relief depicting Herakles with his club, a bearded head of greater than life size possibly associated with a club which may be part of the same statue and thus also representing Herakles, a dedicatory inscription, and a stele from the early Roman period bearing an inscription of an Eranos of Herakles, including a preamble followed by a list of about 140 eranistai.
Pottery Finds of Lykotrypa and Yerovouno
Two deposits of pottery in pits or wells were discovered in Lykotrypa during the 1980s. One cutting contained a deposit of sherds whose date is unknown. The other was a rubbish pit containing fourth-century BCE domestic pottery fragments. The domestic pottery in this deposit is one of the only finds of household goods from the classical period which has been discovered to date in the area of Acharnai.
(p.202) Pottery sherds and a Protogeometric amphora burial on display in the Acharnes Museum bear signage associating them with the suburban railway excavations in the area of Yerovouno and Lykotrypa. They seem to be unpublished at this time.
Catling 1989, p. 16.
The Aghios Nikolaos/Aghia Sotira Settlement Site
Architectural elements from antiquity have been discovered built into the church of Aghios Nikolaos in Acharnai. These include a moulding, Ionic capitals, a fluted column drum, and an Ionic column base, and seem to date to the early classical period. A nearby barn is also said to be built upon a packed layer of ancient fragments of sculpture and architectural elements, although it has not been excavated.
A fragment of a sculptured relief, showing the bottom portion of a seated individual wearing a long chiton and with a footrest, was discovered in the area of the church. Although it is too fragmentary to be certain about what it is depicting, the portions that remain seem to indicate a classical date. Platonos-Yiota has identified it as a relief of Apollo on iconographic similarities with the Parthenon, but this seems tenuous at best.
The Acharnian Aqueduct
An inscription dealing with the land regulations for the Acharnian aqueduct of the fourth century BCE was found in the vicinity of Aghios Nikolaos. It is one of five known inscriptions to deal with the aqueduct, which seems to have followed a path akin to that of the Kephissos river, skirting the edge of Acharnian territory on the eastern side. Because the inscription deals with financial and other arrangements being made with a farmer, in order for the aqueduct to pass through his land, it attests to the presence of at least one domestic property in the area.
Sections of subterranean aqueduct, constructed of curved and rounded tiles, have also been discovered at several locations along the line of the (p.203) Acharnian aqueduct. Some of these sections are preserved to approximately twelve metres in length and can be dated to the fourth century BCE.
The Graves near Odos Zaimi and Aghia Varvara
A poros sarcophagus dating to the classical period was found near Odos Zaimi in 1993, containing an alabastron and a bronze mirror and pin. This particular grave was discovered in an area where other ancient burials had previously been noted and probably indicates the presence of a larger cemetery which has not been excavated at this time.
Geometric and classical burials have also been discovered on the southern edge of this area, near the church of Aghia Varvara, just to the south of the Attiki Odos. The presence of these graves, lying between the region of Aghios Nikolaos and that of Yerovouno/Lykotrypa, indicates the southern boundary of this particular settlement.
The remains of an ancient road were found slightly to the west of the modern road Odos Philadelphias in Acharnes. It has been tentatively identified as part of the ancient road which ran between the Acharnian gate in the walls of the asty and the site of the ancient deme, but without further excavation this cannot be certain.
Platonos-Yiota 2004, pp. 108–10.