16TH CURA AQUARUM IN GREECE

28th of March – 6th of April 2015

Η αρχαιολογική επιστημονική ομάδα του έργου του Μετρό συμμετείχε στο 16ο Διεθνές Συνέδριο Cura Aquarum που διοργανώθηκε αυτή τη χρονιά στην Αθήνα από το Γερμανικό Οργανισμό Ιστορίας του Νερού (German Water History Association – DWhG) και το Γερμανικό Αρχαιολογικό Ινστιτούτο (German Archaeological Institute -DAI) με θέμα τα αρχαία υδραυλικά συστήματα.

Abstract

Bringing to light ancient water supply structures:

the METRO rescue excavations in Piraeus

Dr. S.Chrysoulaki

M.Sc Th. Evangelou

M.A P. Koutis

M.A G. Peppas

Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica, Piraeus and Islands

Piraeus contribution to the reputation and power acquired by Athens as one of the greatest cities of the ancient Greek world was decisive. Natural harbors gave the city the opportunity to develop in maritime and trade and create a powerful fleet. The city was built between 470-460 BC according to urban planning made by Hippodamus from Militus. The concept of the new city and its organization into a single grid captures the sense of proportion and fairness that were fundamental components of Athenian democracy. According to these, the residential area of Piraeus was partitioned into building blocks. The principle of egalitarity which dominated the planning of the city led to the imposition of a particular house model: that of a uniform plan and equal size, differed only with respect to the position in the block. A fundamental aspect of people’s life but also an important element of Hippodamus plan was water supply.

A large number of underground structures (wells, cinsterns, tunnels, pipes, shafts, adequate) used for water supply have been excavated in the majority of excavations conducted since 19th century in Piraeus by the Archaeological Service and revealed parts of city’s urban grid.

The recent rescue excavation, one of the largest ever in the city of Piraeus, carried out before the contruction of underground railway line (METRO), has revealed so far, among other elements of the ancient city, at least 85 of these structures intended to manage water supply in private houses and public buildings. In order to rigorously record archaeological data, multiple traditional techniques are combined with modern multidisciplinary fields of study often resulting in an improvised methodology. These include topographic, photogrammetric and video recording of features, geological mapping, chemical and mechanical analyses, hydraulic and hydrologic research, database building etc.

As a result, this dynamic and open to future perspectives approach can prove useful in simplifying complicated features, aid in improving knowledge of relevant topics, improve insights and finally is beginning to reveal some of the complex nuances of ancient home and social life.

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