Antiquities of the Attiki Odos, Municipality of Acharnes

Antiquities of the Attiki Odos, Municipality of Acharnes

During the construction works of the Attiki Odos, four burial enclosures of classical times, a villa and a late Roman cistern were excavated to the north of the Tenedou Street (former Halkidiki Street).

Burial enclosures of the Classical period

The foundations of the burial enclosures, on an NW-SE axis, were traced at the junction of two ancient roads. The walls of the enclosures made of large rectangular conglomerate stones also served as a retaining wall for the small hill on the E-NE. These constructions dating to the 5th and 4th c. BC, suffered severe damage in later antiquity and parts were reused for the building of the neighboring Roman villa.

Within enclosures 1 and 2 three sarcophagi and cremation remains were found. The funeral offerings were placed in the graves, in an offering case, and an offering ditch. The offerings were clay and stone vessels (lekythoi, alabasters), as well as bronze objects (strigils). In the offering ditch, dozens of miniature vases (oinochoae, plates e.t.c.) bearing traces of fire were discovered. A large number of miniature vessels were also densely packed around the built case.  On the ancient road running along enclosures 1 and 2 parts of the tomb monuments (of marble sculptures, stelai, and vases) and parts of alabasters were uncovered. Only partial remains were found od enclosures 3 and 4. Around them several disposal pits were spotted, containing a great quantity of ceramic dating from the Hellenistic period, mainly of funerary vases, lamps, parts of clay figurines, and plaques.

Villa of the late Roman period

The rural settlement, lying to the W of the burial enclosures and dating from the 3rd – 5th c. AD. was partially excavated within a private plot in 1990. It consists of a simple dwelling with an inner and outer courtyard, a large number of storage spaces, and cisterns. A total of 18 spaces were uncovered on the N and E part of the villa, while the W part was not excavated. At least one phase of repair during late Roman times was traced.  The exterior walls are made of stones, bricks, and mortar, as well as material coming from the nearby burial enclosers (architectural parts and pieces of tomb monuments). Most rooms were covered by fallen tiles and vase fragments, mainly of coarse ware dating from the late Roman era. Within the dwelling, large pithoi for storing products, such as cereal, oil, and wine, were found. Two burials within large jars were also uncovered.

In a disposal pit W of the villa a large quantity of vases fragments dating from the Hellenistic and early Roman period was traced (lamps, cups e.t.c.), along with building material, parts of sculptures, tiles, and ashes. A marble female head from a tomb stele dating from the 4th c. BC was found in the pit.

Scattered remains of late antiquity settlements were also found on the W, where the Eschatia stream meets Attiki Odos.

Late Roman Cistern

This was a cistern built in Roman times for collecting rainwater The position in which it was originally found lies NW of the adjoining Roman villa, at the point where the Suburban Railway now runs. In 2001 it was moved to its present location.

The cistern is a large, rectangular construction 23m in length and 16m in width, with an N-S orientation. Only the underground section has survived, which was cut into the natural rock. The walls are 1m thick and made of yellowish sandstone and porous stones from the surrounding area, held in place with mortar. At a level 70cm from the floor there is a course of rectangular bricks, in the Roman opus mixtum technique, creating a variation in color. The walls of the cistern have survived to a height of 1.5m but according to calculations, it rose up to 3m. On the S and W sides, seven buttresses supported the walls from the water pressure, while the N and E sides were held by the natural rock. A passage 0.85-1.35m in width, constructed of medium-sized stones joined by mortar, runs around the inside of the cistern.

Roman ceramic ware of the 4th c. AD as well as coins, lamps, and the head of a terracotta figurine from the same period have been found inside the cistern. At the SE corner, a small clay conduit was identified, built into the wall, for draining and cleaning the tank. There was no hydraulic mortar found in the cistern, probably due to the natural sandstone into which it was carved, that acts as a natural sealant preventing rainwater leakage.

 

 

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