The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is pleased to announce the publication of Hesperia 89.4. Topics in this issue include a report on recent work at the Athenian Agora Excavations, an overview of the activities carried out by the Ancient Methone Archaeological Project, a topographic exploration of Athens as framed by Plato’s Republic, and the presentation of a closed bothros deposit from late-13th- to mid-14th-century Thebes.
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Recent Excavations in the Athenian Agora, 2013–2019, by John McKesson Camp II and Brian Martens, summarizes excavations conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in the Athenian Agora during the 2013–2019 seasons. Detailed reporting focuses on a Mycenaean cemetery, the Classical Commercial Building and its earlier phases, further information concerning the building identified as the Painted Stoa (Stoa Poikile), the late phases of the Eridanos River, and an enclosure along the south side of the river that can plausibly be identified as a sanctuary of the eponymous hero Leos and perhaps his three daughters.
The Ancient Methone Archaeological Project: A Preliminary Report on Fieldwork, 2014–2017, by Sarah Morris, John K. Papadopoulos, Matthaios Bessios, Athena Athanassiadou, and Konstantinos Noulas, focuses on ancient Methone (Pieria), a major port in northern Greece from the 1st millennium B.C. until Philip II of Macedon destroyed the city in 354 B.C. Excavations carried out since 2003 by the Greek Archaeological Service at this site have unearthed Bronze Age burials, important Early Iron Age deposits and inscriptions, and direct evidence of the Macedonian siege, destruction, and aftermath, thereby extending the history of the settlement from the Late Neolithic period past the 4th century B.C. In 2012 an international team joined the Ephorate of Antiquities of Pieria to study and publish these discoveries, and as the Ancient Methone Archaeological Project (AMAP), launched a fresh phase of multidisciplinary fieldwork from 2014 to 2017. The preliminary results of this joint project are presented here.
“I Went Down to Piraeus Yesterday”: Routes, Roads, and Plato’s Republic, by Geoffrey Bakewell, revolves around the first four words of Plato’s Republic, κατέβην χθὲς εἰς Πειραιᾶ, which refer to a journey commonplace in antiquity: “I went down to Piraeus yesterday.” Countless Athenians regularly made this three-hour trek from the upper city to the harbor, and Plato, his interlocutors, and his Athenian readers were all familiar with the route. Today, however, we have largely forgotten what it was like to travel on foot in ancient Athens and have ignored Plato’s topographical framing. This article retraces the first stage of Sokrates and Glaukon’s journey, from the Dipylon Gate through the Kerameikos, and it argues that the road network, shrines, and tombs they would have encountered have significant links with the philosophical content of the Republic.
Thebes at the Time of the Catalans: A Deposit between the Ismenion Hill and the Elektra Gate, by Fotini Kondyli, Stephanie Larson, Julian Baker, Florence Liard, Kevin Daly, Alexandra Charami, and Vassilis Aravantinos, presents a bothros excavated in 2011 in the Thebes parking area, which revealed large quantities of late-13th- to mid-14th-century A.D. domestic waste, including glazed table wares, coarse wares, a small coin hoard, and other everyday objects. This fascinating deposit highlights various aspects of economic activities, domestic life, and waste management in Thebes at this time. The assemblage also offers a rare glimpse of Thebes amid significant political change: the Catalan takeover of the city and the wider area of central Greece in A.D. 1311. Both the richness of the bothros’s material and its location outside the city walls argue against canonical notions of the abandonment of Thebes and economic stagnation caused by the Catalan occupation.
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