»
Sikyon Project

Excavations


The center of ancient Sikyon with the two areas of our excavations.

The results of the surface and geophysical surveys helped us with the selection of the sites to excavate within the designated archaeological site. We chose to concentrate in two areas, to the northwest and the southeast of the agora, in an effort to gain a picture, as representative as possible, of the past activities around the agora. During the first round of excavations (2013-2019), that were conducted under the auspices of the Archaeological Society of Athens, we excavated a total surface area of approximately 2,000 m2.

To the northwest of the agora we brought to light a) a small temple measuring some 7 x 11 m, which dates from the Early Hellenistic period, b) part of a Hellenistic monumental structure of unknown function, that is preserved at the level of its foundations, c) part of an Early Hellenistic stoa (our “West Stoa”), of estimated dimensions of ca. 20 x 42 m (this stoa, oriented north-south, had a Doric colonnade on the east side and a double row of rooms along its back (west) side; based on finds, we assume that it had a commercial character), and d) a corner of a pi-shaped complex of the Early Roman period with later phases, as well as part of an adjacent central street of the city, oriented east-west. In addition, we proceeded to the cleaning and detailed drawing of the gymnasium of the city, which had been excavated by A. Orlandos from the early 1930s to the early 1950s, and had since been damaged from its exposure to the elements.

To the southeast of the agora, we excavated a) two rooms of the South Stoa and were able to confirm its dating to the early 3rd century BCE, b) part of a second stoa, one-aisle and of Doric order, which was built perpendicularly to the Hellenistic stoa in the second half of the 1st or the early 2nd century CE, and c) a large industrial complex with three main chorological phases, the first in the second half of the 1st/first half of the 2nd century CE, the second in the second half of the 4th century CE, and the third and last one in the 6th and 7th century CE. Among the installations that were excavated we can single out five ceramic kilns, one basin, one treading floor, and two stone platforms.


Orthophoto of the northwestern side of the agora with the excavated monuments.


Orthophoto of the southeastern side of the agora


The architectural plans of the monuments that have come to light during the recent as well as the old excavations, were for the most part hand-drawn on the basis of orthophotos of high resolution, and were subsequently digitized so that they can be processed in vector format. The new plans are detailed drawings of the current state of the monuments at a scale of 1:20 to 1:50, which are hard to show at a small scale. For this reason, and in order to be able to produce a new, general plan of the entire archaeological site at a small scale (1:1000 or even smaller), we drew the outlines of all monuments and architectural remains and reconstructed a few missing sections where necessary so that the plans become more comprehensible.

The rich material from our recent excavations, which comprises pottery, coins, architectural fragments, various small finds, organic residues and bones, has been registered in the project’s database while the most important finds have been conserved.


General plan of the center of ancient Sikyon.

A main concern of our research program after the conclusion of the first round of excavations was, on one hand, to prepare studies of conservation and protection of the excavated areas so that they become part of the archaeological site open to visitors, and on the other hand, to share our results with the scholarly community and the public in general. Towards the latter goal, we are preparing a) a two-volume publication in the series of the Archaeological Society of Athens - the first volume (Sikyon II) presents the excavated areas west of the agora, and the second volume (Sikyon III) those to the southeast of the agora, b) a thematic exhibition on the life and culture of the ancient Sikyonians, and c) an interactive digital map of the ancient city.