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Ancient butcher's shop unearthed in Messini

A ancient butcher's shop has been identified in a 34 metre-long Doric portico unearthed on the west side of the Agora of ancient Messini, located near modern Kalamta in the SW Peloponnese.

Ancient butcher's shop unearthed in Messini

According to the excavator Petros Themelis, "the ancient butcher's shop was so busy that a groove was created in the doorway's marble steps by the feet of the people who visited the shop over the course of several centuries (3rd century BC-4th century AD)."

The portico and its peristyle with unfluted columns corresponding to the ancient butcher's shop (slaughterhouse to be exact), which was just one of the many shops on the western side of the Agora, will be completely re-erected.

Mr Themelis stresses that it is the first time that a butcher's shop from the Hellenistic period has been found. "Usually we have a Roman macelum", says Themelis, "a small open courtyard used as an abattoir."

Ancient butcher's shop unearthed in Messini

"The butcher's shop was identified via an inscription of the 1st century AD, found inside the portico, which tells us that a wealthy Messinian citizen spent 1875 dinars from his personal fortune to repair the roof and to replaster the building.

"There are important signs that indicate its use as a slaughterhouse and butcher's shop: a massive stone with a hole for tying livestock, which was located at the northeast corner of the portico, as well as grooves around the stone where the blood and water ran. 

"There is an inscription associated with general repairs of buildings which had been destroyed by an earthquake. One of them is a grocery store, which we have yet to locate, though the inscription says was located near the butcher's shop", adds Mr. Themelis.

The restoration of the Doric portico has already begun. All its architectural parts have been found and it should not take more than a month to be placed in position.

Source: Ethnos [September 23, 2015]

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