Duke University-Deree College joint course
March 13, 2017
The Western Hills of Athens
May 7, 2017

The Athenian City Walls

The northern part of the city of Athens from the Kleanthis and Schaubert map (1831-32) showing the course of the wall of Haseki (1778). The line of the Themistokleian wall (479/8 BC) is overlaid (in red) based on excavated remains.

Our pilot project on the walls of Athens was based on recent and earlier studies combining archival research, existing digital resources and primary documentation.

In the framework of the project we used data from published archaeological reports and excavation plans, which we juxtaposed with historical maps (e.g. early cadastral maps), and additional historical evidence (e.g. paintings, photographs).

The aim of the programme was to create a modern and functional digital infrastructure for the storage, visualization and investigation of the data regarding the fortifications of Athens, as well as for their online availability through the use of geospatial technologies. The ultimate goal was to develop a methodology for utilising data from rescue excavations in a modern urban environment.

Some results of our experimentation have been incorporated in a paper entitled "The city walls of Athens: Reconnecting a fragmentary monument through digital mapping" that was presented at the 22nd International Conference “Cultural Heritage and New Technologies”, held in Vienna in November 2017.

Our research so far on the walls of Athens has finally yielded to a wider mapping project undertaken by Dipylon, entitled Mapping the Antiquities of Athens, which is currently in progress and will cover a great deal of published antiquities of Athens recovered by excavation inside and outside of the Themistoklean wall.

With the aim of attracting the interest of a wider public, Dipylon developed in June 2018 the mobile application Walk the Wall Athens, which invites users to take a unique tour of the historical centre of Athens and explore its ancient walls. (more info here for Android, iOS and a video at youtube)


View of the ancient city walls of Athens during excavation (1957) for the construction of the edifice on 6, Dragatsaniou str. (reproduced with permission from the Archive of the Archaeological Society at Athens).
View of the staircase at the basement of 6 Dragatsaniou str. with the preserved part of the ancient wall (Α.-Μ. Theocharaki 2015. Τhe ancient walls of Athens. Greek Epigraphic Society: 317).
Detail from the plan for the preservation of the uncovered parts of the ancient city wall of Athens in the basement floor of the edifice on 6 Dragatsaniou str. (S. Staikos 1957).
Map showing the property on 6 Dragatsaniou str. with the archaeological remains discovered during excavation and the course of the ancient wall. The basemaps include the architectural drawing of the building and the cadastral map of the Hellenic Ministry for Public Works (1974).