Posted by: aiawinnipeg | October 21, 2013

October 27, 3pm, 237 University College – Archaeology of Athenian Households

At Home in Classical Athens:

The Archaeology of a House near the Athenian Agora

Kathleen M. Lynch, University of Cincinnati

In 480 BC the Athenians famously abandoned their city before the Persian advance and retreated to the island of Salamis (and elsewhere). Once the Athenians and other Greeks defeated the Persians at Salamis and later at Plataea, the Athenians returned home to the mess left by the Persians in their city. Every hole or pit that could be found, including many wells, were filled in with the debris of the Persian attack. One can only imagine the number of times Athenian men must have been reminded by their wives and mothers (probably at the same time) to clear all the broken pottery out of the rec room.

Excavation of a well in the Athenian Agora

But we are on more solid ground when, as archaeologists, we begin to sift through the thousands of sherds, roof tiles, chunks of walls, and other debris that were thrown down these wells, dumped into convenient pits, or just shoveled out the back door for some later disposal.

Since 1931, the American excavations in the Athenian Agora have studied this debris and the associated architecture. But only in recent years has great care been paid to the precise nature of the artifacts found in the wells and what they can tell us about life before that fateful day when the Athenian husband finally stopped watching the Olympics and cleaned out the rec room.

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