As visitors won’t be able to celebrate International Museum Day in person this year due to the pandemic*, we revisit GCT’s excursion to the ancient Athenian neighbourhood under the Acropolis Museum.
Last year upon celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Acropolis Museum created public access to its underground level, where visitors could traipse through an ancient neighbourhood, which until then was only viewable through a glass floor.
Nesting on the gentle south slope of the rock, it houses life and human activities from the 4th millennium BC until the 12th cent. AD. Streets, residences, baths, workshops and tombs compose the complex image of archaeological remains.
Led by archaeologist Stamatia Eleftheratou, the dig was described by the Director of the Acropolis Museum, Dimitris Pandermalis as “located in the place where Thucydides wrote his second book, which tells of the history of Athens, and in which he reveals that it is the oldest in Athens.”
“In his own way,” Pandermalis noted, “Thucydides argues that that is where the ancient sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, the sanctuary of the Earth, the sanctuary of Pythian Apollo, the sanctuary of En Limaes of Dionysus exist.” Pandermalis added that “the excavations also brought to light in the southwest corner of the museum the sanctuary of Kodros, the mythical king of Athens.”
“Next to startling monuments such as the Acropolis and the Odeon of Herod Atticus (Irodion) Theater, any other archaeological site would pale in significance,” the museum’s director said.
“However, the neighbourhoods of ancient Athens also had their own singular magic. And that’s because they are the places where more than any place else, familiarise us with ordinary people, the places where they were born, grew up, worked, created families… essentially wrote their personal stories. It is such a neighbourhood that we now have before us.”
*Greek authorities announced that museum doors across the country will remain closed for visitors until June 14.
**This article was sourced from the Acropolis Museum with the contribution of a GCT Team member.