Sunday, March 24, 2013

Restoration of the Hellenistic theatre of Naoussa

Unsurprisingly a lot of exciting discoveries were announced at this month’s Annual Conference for Archaeological Work in Macedonia and Thrace that took place in Thessaloniki. I’ll deal with the excavations at Vergina in other posts, but first news concerning the Hellenistic theatre of Naoussa which was discovered in 1992 near Kopanos and is now undergoing restoration.
Ongoing restoration of the theatre
The theatre, which dates to the 2nd century BC, is relatively large for a ‘provincial’ location, which gives rise to questions about the population in the area at that time. It is located on the slope of a low hill overlooking the plain, and is oriented to the east, using the natural slope of the hill so that the magnificent view provides the backdrop, a common device in theatres of this period.
Theatre before restoration
The auditorium is carved into the natural soft limestone and the bulk of the stone from the first seven rows survives. A further 12 rows can be made out, but the cavea may have been much larger in ancient times. The proscenium and the wall of the skene are preserved and the orchestra has a diameter of 22 metres.

In 2007 the first phase of a maintenance and rebuilding project commenced. The work included the restoration of the skene (including with new stone) and part of the cavea was also restored, using the ancient stones where possible.

In 2011, the second phase included further maintenance and restoration using the ancient stones which continues today.  The plan is for a total restoration of the monument to be used for cultural activity.


Naoussa, of course, is most famous for the archaeological site known as the ‘Nymphaeum’, often identified as the ‘School of Aristotle’ where the philosopher taught the young Alexander and his companions. There are also a number of Macdonian built tombs in the area and the remains of some ‘villas’ or Hellenistic farmsteads. 
Nymphaeum or School of Aristotle

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting Carolyn
    I hope the restoration goes on what with the problems out that way at present . kevin

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