MagA - Secteur Sud-Est : Bâtiment E / Southeast Sector: Building E

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Monday, March 4, 2013

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The excavation of Building E was completed in 2003.  In 2002 and 2003, the research team finished clearing several rooms and penetrated a 5th century BCE floor in a large room.  This rectangular hall was the building’s main room and contained a central clay hearth and a bathtub in the southeast corner.  Below the 5th century BCE floor, an older floor level from the 2nd half of the 6th century BCE was found, indicating the building’s construction goes back at least to this earlier period.  However, the final form was the product of significant rearrangements made at the beginning of the 5th century BCE, such as the addition of new interior facing applied to walls which consisted of small ashlar blocks of marble and poros.

The excavation of this room and its immediate surroundings led to a better understanding of the building’s architectural development and the various occupation phases.  The final picture that arose was one with three occupation phases.  The first phase was built in the last quarter of the 6th century BCE.  Although the architecture of the first phase is uncertain due to the modifications made in the second phase, it appears that the house was organized on a tripartite plan formed by an oblong main front court with two smaller rooms at the back, one of which had a hearth in the centre of the room.  The house was destroyed in the first quarter of the 5th century BCE and was immediately rebuilt according to the original architectural plan.  The second phase chronology was secured thanks to the discovery of a small hoard of silver coins (all from Akanthos) dated to the turn of the 6th to 5th  century BCE.  These tetradrachms likely formed a foundation deposit laid down during the building’s reconstitution.  The beginning of the 5th century was a period in which the entire sector of the city surrounding Building E was significantly remodeled, when a nearby terrace as well as Buildings B and C were built.  Building A was rebuilt and modified at this time too. After a second destruction in the last quarter of the 5th century BCE, Building E was renovated and its function and plan changed.  New walls divided the court into unequal sections which appear to have become the main living area and a smaller open court. Building E was finally destroyed in 357 BCE, after which it remained abandoned.

Overall, its structure was made of well cut, non-isodomic masonry.  However, several openings along the western wall were not positively identified.  These openings run all along the west wall and are very well constructed.  The excavators believe that the entire assembly was used to channel water, but no clues providing definite proof of this hypothesis have been found.  Several features such as ram-head antefixes, the central hearth, and the possibility of a complex hydraulic system suggest that the building could have been a public or religious construction.


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