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The excavation of Sikyon

I’m sorry I’ve disappeared for a month or so. For those of you wondering where I’ve been, I’ll admit that I’m very busy, because I’m here:

Sikyon excavation Aristotle Koskinas

Hard at work in Sikyon.

 

I’m taking part in the study of the finds of the excavation of Sikyon, conducted by the University of Thessaly, Greece.

Sikyon was an ancient city in the Northern Peloponnese, not far from Corinth. It was an important and prosperous city during the archaic and early classical periods. It was a famous art centre, producing famous artists well into Roman times. The best known representatives of the Sikyon School are the sculptor Lysippos and the painter Apelles.

It is said that the first ever sacrifice to the 12 gods took place here, with the titan Prometheus dividing the parts of the animal in the fashion that became established from then on.

While the city was initially close to the sea, in Hellenistic times it was refounded on the hill of its Acropolis, probably for defensive reasons. This happened in 303 BCE by order of Demetrius Poliorcetes, after he took the city from Ptolemy I.

Sikyon excavation general view

The palaistra (gym) of hellenistic Sikyon.

 

Several excavations were conducted in Sikyon during the 20th century; their finds can be seen in the site’s museum, impressively housed in the renovated building of a Roman bathhouse discovered there.

Since 2004, the University of Thessaly has been conducting a systematic archaeological survey program in the city. It began with a surface survey of the surrounding area, followed by a surface survey of the city itself. The third stage of this program is the methodical excavation that is underway today.

I cannot say anything about the team’s discoveries before these are published. What I can say is that I’ve taken part (more or less) in every stage of the University’s program. I am now studying the architectural ceramics (i.e. rooftiles) that have been unearthed, something that will probably keep me busy for quite some time.

I apologise for being away for so long and will do my best to keep travelling with you on our virtual tour of Greece at least once a week.

Sikyon excavation, rooftiles

An archaeologist’s paradise: vast quantities of ceramics. After being recorded, they must all be studied, to help us reach some useful conclusions. The finds must then be published, in order to be available to all archaeologists, current and future ones.

 

 

 

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