Σάββατο, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2018

Θεσσαλονίκη: το παρελθόν της ξαναζωντανεύει / Thessaloniki: the city's past comes to life



Σε ημερίδα που πραγματοποιήθηκε χτες, 23.2.2018, αρχαιολόγοι παρουσίασαν τα ευρήματα που ήρθαν στο φως με αφορμή την κατασκευή του μετρό της πόλης. Διαβάστε το ενδιαφέρον φωτορεπορτάζ με αφορμή τη χτεσινή ημερίδα: 


Εnglish version: 
(Information and photos from www.thestival.gr)
During a conference archaeologists presented the findings from the recent excavations in the city underground construction sites. The artifacts and the buildings that came to light are really impressive and they contribute to the reconstruction of the urban landscape of Thessaloniki from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine times. 

1. Pre-cassandrian settlement - Roman cemetery at the outskirts of the city (Pylaia)

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Part of the pre-cassandrian town (5th-4th c. CE).
In 2012 a pre-cassandrian settlement dated in the 4th c. BCE. was found in the area of Pylaia According to the reports it was a thriving town organized on the basis of the Hippodamian system. Its life ended in 315 BCE when Cassander founded the city of Thessaloniki. 

In the same area archeologists found part of a Roman cemetery (2nd-4th c. CE) and the traces of a settlement of the Roman times at the outskirts of Thessaloniki.

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Aspect of the Roman cemetery in Pylaia
(2nd-4th c. CE)



























2. The eastern cemetery of the city
At the underground station "Syntrivani" in front of the University Campus part of the eastern cemetery of the city was excavated. At same site archaeologists found the remains of a three-aisle cemetery basilica along with traces of an older building decorated with mosaics. Moreover, 3,000 artifacts came to light, various types of graves, coins, jewels as well as numerous vessels. 

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The basilica of eastern cemetery. 

3. The urban landscape

The city was organized on the basis of the Hippodamian system (horizontal and vertical roads). Despite some minor reconstructions this system was preserved in the Roman times as well.

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Houses of the Hellenistic period at the Hagia Sophia underground station.
During the 4th c. CE porticos with shops and big impressive buildings were built along the streets. In the same period a Nymphaeum was constructed north of the decumanus at the junction with the cardo that is now Hagia Sophia Street. 
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Nymphaeum at the Hagia Sophia underground station. 
In the 6th c. a major reconstruction of the centre of the city takes place. The marble paved decumanus was widened and some of the older buildings along this road are replaced by squares at the main crossroads of the city. 
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Part of the decumanus excavated at Venizelou underground station.
This is the case of the two squares found at the Hagia Sophia station.

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Marble paved square. Hagia Sophia underground station, south entrance.
The archaeological findings attest that in Late Antiquity Thessaloniki was still an important city with impressive buildings in the city centre. The construction of the underground stations along Egnatia street that coincides with the route of the Avenue or Middle Street of the Byzantine times brought to light the Byzantine pebble paved main street that replaced the ancient decumanus (width 5.5-6.5 m.). Many new roads were constructed defining the insulae of the city. However, in the urban centre older public buildings were replaced by houses and shops over time. Many of these houses and shops have come to light during the excavations along Egnatia street.
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The two Byzantine squares excavated at the Hagia Sophia underground station.

4. The western cemetery of the city
The underground station in the western part of the city are in fact located outside the western walls of the city. The excavations there brought to light findings that provide information about the area from the 3rd c. BCE till modern times. Two important factors define the structure of this area: via Egnatia (not to be confused with modern Egnatia strees of the city that follows the route of the ancient  decumanus) and the various streams of the area. 
Parts of the ancient road that led out of the Golden Gate of the city and along the western cemetery have been already found in the area of the Monastiriou street.
Part of the western cemetery also came to light during the construction of the Dimokratias underground station and at the New Rail Station of the city. 

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Southern and northern part of the cemetery. Dimokratias underground station.
This cemetery developed along the northern side of the road that led out of the city. It contains various grave types and funerary altars usually in small enclosures where funerary rites and offerings took place. Marble sarcophagi and grave buildings dated from the 2nd to the 4th c. CE came to light. It seems that this cemetery was in use from the Hellenistic times and till the 4th c. CE when churches and Christian martyria are constructed there. In later times and especially in the 6th c. the cemetery is seldom used for burials.

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Votings from graves in the western cemetery.

5. The western exurban area
The construction of the Dimokratias underground station in the area outside the Golden Gate of the ancient city led to the excavation of large state storehouses of wine and oil and of workshops dated in the 5th c. In the 5th c. a church was built on the ruins of the oil storehouse with an adjacent grave construction. By the end of the 6th or beginning of the 7th c. CE the church was destroyed and the area was abandoned (with an exception of a few burials in the 6th c.).

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The remains of the storehouses along the route of the road that led outside the city
and though the Golden Gate. Dimokratias underground station.

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