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Ancient Greece’s Amphipolis Unveils New Secrets

Ancient Amphipolis
Ancient Amphipolis’ excavation site. Credit: University of Patras

The finding of parts of a large Roman building in the area of the Ancient Amphipolis Acropolis was one of the important archaeological developments that occurred in this year’s dig at the site, located in Serres, Greece.

The archeological excavations that were carried out in the Summer brought to light important discoveries regarding the Roman era in the area.

The excavation in Ancient Amphipolis is a five-year program (2019-2023); the digs take place in Summers only.

The excavations wereheaded by the director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Serres, Dr. Dimitria Malamidou, in collaboration with the University of Patras, represented by Archaeology Professor Dr. Dimitrios Damaskos.

The excavation site is located in the center of the ancient city, in a large Hellenistic building found under the early Byzantine Basilica. Next to it, researchers discovered parts of the Roman-period building.

Ancient Amphipolis
Archaeologists digging in Ancient Amphipolis. Credit: University of Patras

Ancient Amphipolis: An area ideal for excavation

The Acropolis of Amphipolis is a site full of history since excavations so far revealed findings from different eras — from Hellenistic, to Roman, to Byzantine times.

It is natural, then, that the excavations and the analysis of the discoveries made will take a long time, and is difficult to draw any major conclusions now.

Amphipolis, because of the large area it covers, is not only suitable for excavations and research for more research teams but also research that often exceeds the age expectation of all of us,” Dr. Damaskos told the newspaper Macedonia.

“Obviously, one lifetime is not enough to dig in Amphipolis, so I do not think that we have results that drastically change our picture of the place these years.

“Before the start of the excavations in 2019 we did not have a picture of the classical, Hellenistic and Roman Acropolis, which is also the center of the city over time,” Dr. Damaskos said, adding “We know very little about these times and the three months we have been digging now are not enough to reach safe conclusions.”

Ancient Amphipolis
The team of archaeologists for the Summer 2021 dig at Amphipolis. Credit: University of Patras

Funding is limited

As in many archaeological excavations, limited funding is an obstacle. Financing a project such as the Ancient Amphipolis excavations requires significant funds and lots of manhours.

Financing the excavation from the regular budget of the University of Patras and the relevant resources of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Serres is hardly enough.

“This is relatively limited funding that does not allow us to expand further on our excavations. We need more money,” Dr. Damaskos stated.

Yet, researchers have found a way to “advertise” the excavation site and the rest of Amphipolis through a website that was recently created; it includes the entire history of the excavation.

The user can navigate in a very functional, clear, and understandable informational environment, which includes a chronology from the beginning of the works on the Acropolis (long before this specific excavation) until today.

Also, there is photographic material showing the course of the works, scenes from the excavation, and a general bibliography for Amphipolis, especially for the Acropolis excavations.

At the same time, the site interacts with social media, via Facebook and Instagram, which shows the activities of the researchers throughout the year, and not just in the Summer, when excavations take place.

“We try to have the excavation in the news in various ways,” Dr. Damaskos said. “We hope this site will attract an audience…We want all this to be a bibliographic database for the excavation. We try to enrich the site with additional informative material or whatever else arises,” he added.


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