To commemorate its tenth anniversary since its opening, the Acropolis Museum, based in Athens, recently announced the opening of a new exhibition space: ‘an entire excavated neighbourhood of ancient villas, streets, workshops and bathhouses that lies below the museum building’. The museum’s director, Dimitrios Pandermalis, commented that ‘for the first time we are able to see how people lived in the shadow of the Acropolis’.
This unearthed ancient neighbourhood, which was inhabited in classical times, from the fifth century BC until the Byzantine era, is thought to be located in the part of the city where Thucydides wrote his second book, in which he tells of the history of Athens, and reveals that it is the oldest in Athens.
This excavation, which lasted 13 years, is thought to be one of the largest, most significant excavations within the walls of ancient Athens, enabling archaeologists and academic researchers alike to learn more about the ancient Greek civilisation and about the birthplace of democracy. The ancient settlement covers an estimated 4,000 square metres and over 50,000 artefacts were unearthed, including figurines of less-well known deities. Stamatia Eleftheratou, who headed the excavation work, has said the process ‘was complex because there were so many layers, so many dwellings, on top of the other, all telling the history of Athens’.
Students applying for Classics, with a keen interest on the study of ancient Greece, along with those planning to apply for Archaeology and Anthropology, can delve deeper into exploration on how this excavation, and others, may shed further insight on civilisations from the past, helping to expose the day-to-day life led by those during such periods of history, and how such novel discoveries may challenge or complement existing knowledge previously found on such civilisations.