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Stoa Poikile excavations in the Athenian Agora

The American School of Classical Studies in Athens is all set to continue excavations at the site of the Stoa Poikile or Painted Portico in Monastiraki, downtown Athens, which is of great archaeological significance. The School had its wish unanimously granted by the Central Archaeological Council on March 19, and will now proceed with the purchase or expropriation of the properties located at Agiou Philippou St. 20, and Andrianou and Agiou Philippou 14.

Stoa Poikile excavations in the Athenian Agora
Reconstruction of the  Stoa Poikile, one of the major structures in Athens’ Classical Agora, 
the centre of the city’s political and public life [Credit: To Vima]
These two buildings of the early 19th century - the only buildings of the time remaining on the eastern front of the square – today house health care businesses and have undergone numerous construction and restoration works. Their removal will help uncover a wider part of the ancient monument, which is expected to convey important historical information.

The property located on Agiou Philippou 14 stands right above the mid-5th century BC Stoa, hiding a long section of its back wall, interior and exterior columns, while that on the corner of Adrianou and Agiou Philippou 20, covers the area right in front of the Stoa and part of the Eridanos river.

The Stoa Poikile or Painted Portico, originally called the Porch of Peisianax, was erected during the 5th century BC and was located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. The Stoa was the location from which Zeno of Citium taught Stoicism.

Excavations carried out by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens over the past two decades have revealed many of the foundations and some lower elements of the stoa on the north side of the Athenian Agora - a Doric-style facade and an Ionic interior colonnade. The Stoa Poikile was decorated by fresco painter and sculptor Micon of Athens in collaboration with Polygnotos of Thasos.

Author: Stella Tsolakidou | Source: Greek Reporter [March 20, 2013]

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