Home > Medieval and Post Medieval Greece Interest Group of the AIA, Notes From Athens > Thorikos and the Spirit of Institutional History

Thorikos and the Spirit of Institutional History

On a lovely Saturday, Susie and I set out for a drive across Attica.  We stopped at Sounion and at Brauron.  These sites were nice…

SounionSM BrauronSM

but the spirit of institutional history drove us to our real destination, Thorikos.

Between Sounion and Brauron on the coast of Attica sits ancient Thorikos.  My colleagues who study ancient Attica have assured me that Thorikos is, indeed, a significant site in history and development of the region.  Today it sits, neglected, beneath the towers smokestacks of a power station. Despite the locale, Thorikos presents a relatively well-preserved theater constructed of blue-grey local stone.

Theater2Sm 

What makes it interesting to us, however, is that it was the first site excavated by the American School in 1886 nominally under the guidance of the Director of the School, Prof. Frederic De Forest Allen.  The task of excavating fell to Walter Miller who led a group of 25-30 workmen in search of the stage of the theater there.  The matter of the stage in the Greek theater was of pressing interest at the time and several early American excavations in Greece focused on theaters.  Miller published the results of his excavations in volume four of the Papers of the American School. (L. E. Lord, A History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 1882-1942.  Cambridge, Mass. 1947, 42-43).

Theater1Sm

The budget for the first season of excavation was around $300, quite a generous fund considering that the workmen were paid about a drachma a day (in fact, I have no idea what a drachma a day is in US dollars, but it seems like a small amount…)!  This is a nice thing to consider as we prepare yet another grant application for PKAP this summer…

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  1. November 5, 2007 at 6:37 am

    As luck would have it, Miller and Cushing’s publication of the theater at Thorikos is available online, courtesy of the University of Michigan:
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=moa;idno=ACD4670.0004.001
    Pages 1-34

  2. Bill C
    November 5, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Awesome as usual, Chuck!
    Thanks!

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