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Archaeologists voice alarm over Artemis Agrotera temple in Athens


Greek archaeologists expressed their concern on Monday over the abandonment by the state of the site of the mid-5th century BC Temple of Artemis Agrotera, which they described as “one of the most historically important archaeological sites in the center of Athens.”

Archaeologists voice alarm over Artemis Agrotera temple in Athens
The Temple of Artemis Agrotera excavation site in 2014 [Credit: artemisargotera.org]
The Ionic-style temple, dedicated to the Greek virgin goddess of the hunt was constructed of Pentelic marble.


It stands on Ardittou street, in the neighbourhood of Mets, surrounded by modern buildings.

Archaeologists voice alarm over Artemis Agrotera temple in Athens
The Temple of Artemis Agrotera excavation site as it is today [Credit: artemisargotera.org]
In a press release titled “A monument in danger,” the Association of Greek Archaeologists says that despite numerous decisions published by the Central Archaeological Council since 1964 for the immediate expropriation of the land it stands on and the surrounding properties and the protection and promotion of the site, no action has ever been taken.


“The political responsibilities of successive political leaderships, are obvious,” the association says.

Archaeologists voice alarm over Artemis Agrotera temple in Athens
The temple was converted into a Christian basilica in the 5th century and much later in the 17th century with the addition
of a dome into the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary known as "Panagia stin Petra". The detailed drawings
of elevations, ground plans and members of the temple and its pediment (now in the museum of Berlin
and Venice) executed by architects J. Stewart & N. Revett on their visit to Athens give testimony
of the monument as it stood in 1753 [Credit: WikiCommons]
“This unacceptable and disgraceful situation ... that was created under pressure from private interests is not only endangering the archaeological site itself, but also violates the law,” it added.


Archaeologists said the site forms an archaeological unity with the neighbouring Temple of Olympian Zeus and authorities must therefore initiate expropriation procedures, complete the excavations and necessary studies and return it to the public as an open archaeological site.

Archaeologists voice alarm over Artemis Agrotera temple in Athens
Reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis Agrotera [Credit: Viajando la Vida/Flickr]
The temple was converted into an Early Christian church in the mid-5th century AD. the first excavations on the site were conducted in 1897 by the Archaeological Society of Athens.

Source: Kathimerini [September 14, 2018]

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