History of the Excavations

Some of the Agora monuments have never been fully buried and were explored by the Archaeological Society starting in the 19th century: the Stoa of Attalos (1859–1862, 1874, and 1898–1902), the Giants and Tritons of the Odeion (1859, 1874, and 1912), and the West Side (1907–1908). The trench for the extension of the Athens–Piraeus railway in 1890–1891 also exposed remains of buildings and sculptures.

The American excavations were begun on May 25, 1931 and have continued in a series of yearly campaigns since then with a hiatus during the Second World War (Figs. 71–75). In 1953–1956 the Stoa of Attalos was restored to serve as the site museum, and the Church of the Holy Apostles was restored in 1954–1956. A program of landscaping the site as an archaeological park was also undertaken at this time.

Funding has come mostly from private sources: John D. Rockefeller Jr. (original excavations, Stoa of Attalos), the Samuel H. Kress Foundation (Church of the Holy Apostles, publications), the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (excavations, 1969–l974), and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (excavations, 1979–1998). The most recent excavations and the computerization of the excavation archives (1998–) have been funded largely by the Packard Humanities Institute.

Figure 71. The reconstruction of the Stoa of Attalos in 1956, view from the north.
Figure 72. The area of the Agora before the start of excavations in 1931, view from the west.
Figure 73. Panorama of the Agora excavations, also from the west. (2002)
Figure 74. Watercolor of the Agora in 1834 (Wolfensberger), view looking west.
Figure 75. Giants and tritons of the Odeion of Agrippa before the start of excavations, view looking east.
previous PreviousNext next
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).