Σάββατο, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2013

The Sacred Way



The archaeological site of the recently excavated Sacred Way (ancient Iera Odos) is located at Estavromenou Square in Aigaleo, near the homonymous metro station. Sacred ways usually led to sanctuaries and were followed by religious processions during official celebrations. This one was the most important Sacred Way in ancient Greece. It began at the Sacred Gate in the Kerameikos and led from Athens to Eleusis following the same course as modern Iera Odos. The street and adjacent cemetery were revealed during excavations for the extension of Line 3 of the Athens Metro.

Eighteen fragmentary graves of different types were excavated along the street: cist and tile graves, shaft graves, cremations, a jar-burial, and the bottom of three sarcophagi. The graves lay close to the surface and were largely destroyed as a result. Their grave gifts - a few plates, small arybaloid lekythoi and kantharoi of the fourth century BC - were scattered across the site. Throughout the site, archaeological strata lay very close to the surface and were continuously disturbed through time. The recovered pottery thus dates from the fifth century BC to the twentieth century AD.
 
Previous rescue excavations, carried out during the widening of modern Iera Odos, had revealed parts of the Sacred Street. The recent excavations at Estavromenou Square, however, uncovered the street's full width over a considerable distance. The site was subsequently listed, conserved, and rendered accessible to the public.

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