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The Theater of Dionysus:
Archaic (curved?) retaining wall (SM1)


N.B. The viewer will find it useful to consult the state plan of the site.

The six irregularly cut polygonal stones in the center of the image below are among perhaps the most heatedly disputed in Greece, despite their unprepossessing appearance. Labeled SM1 in most modern plans, they lie between the footing wall of the fifth century stoa-skenê complex (to the left) and the foundations of the later permanent skenê (in the right background), a few yards to the east of the north-south axis of the fifth-century skenê. (Platform T can be seen in the center background.)

[Image 1]

SM1 viewed from the east

Photograph by John Porter

Originally seven in number (the seventh had disappeared by the time of Fiechter's excavations in 1927-1933), the stones are Acropolis limestone. It is clear that only their outer face (visible in the image) was meant to be seen. There is a definite curve at the south end (to the left, in the image). They have been identified as part of a retaining wall designed to support the circular orchestra of the sixth-century Theater of Dionysus.

The theory of a circular archaic orchestra has had its detractors of late (particularly E. Gebhard and C. Ashby). These point, among other things, to the fifth-century theaters at Thorikos and Trachones, neither of which has a circular orchestra.

As regards SM1, there are various questions that deserve consideration:

[Image 2]

SM1 viewed from the northeast

Photograph by John Porter

The next logical stop on your tour of the archaeological remains of the Theater of Dionysus should be The Stoa


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Last Modified: Monday, 08-May-2006 16:10:36 CST
Please send queries and comments to john.porter@usask.ca.