Archaeology Magazine Archive

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Athens' Road of Heroes Volume 50 Number 6, November/December 1997
by Yannis N. Stavrakakis

Archaeologists digging in advance of a planned theater in downtown Athens have located part of a road they say is the Demosion Sima, along which Solon, Pericles, and illustrious generals and warriors of the fifth century B.C. are said to have been buried. Yannis Tzedakis, the Greek Ministry of Culture's director of antiquities, called the discovery one of the most important relating to the history of Athens in the postwar era. The 120-foot-wide road stretched for nearly a mile between the Dipylon Gate, near the Kerameikos cemetery, and Plato's Academy, a park and gymnasium on the outskirts of classical Athens. Four limestone tombs containing multiple burials known as polyandria have been excavated so far, according to Charis Stoupa, an archaeologist with the Third Ephoreia (Department) of Classical Antiquities, who is directing the excavation. Stoupa says the polyandria contain the ashes and burned bones of robust men, probably warriors, and several amphorae with paintings of battle scenes. The amphorae date to ca. 430 B.C., coinciding with the outset of the Peloponnesian War. A fifth polyandrion may lie under a building adjacent to the site. Greece's Central Archaeological Council has purchased the land from the theater developers and will conduct further excavations

© 1997 by the Archaeological Institute of America