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News: Events
Investigating the ancient harbours of Zea and Mounichia.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

The naval bases in the Piraeus

The backbone of the Athenian Democracy

Athens in the 5th and 4th century BC was preeminent because of her naval power, as explained in the abstract of the paper. With the navy’s importance came that of her harbour city, the Piraeus, where naval bases housed the hundreds of triremes that served as the primary arm of Athenian power. According to an unknown Athenian writer, the architectural glories of the Acropolis stood in second place to her naval bases: “O Athens, queen of all cities! | How fair your naval base!  | How fair your Parthenon!  | How fair your Piraeus!”

This afternoon, at the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus Bjørn Lovén will give a lecture entitled “The naval bases in the Piraeus – The backbone of the Athenian Democracy”.

This paper presents an overview of the most significant results of the Zea Harbour Project, which has uncovered the development of the Athenian naval bases from their beginnings in the late 6th or early 5th century BC, until the defeat of the Athenian fleet at Amorgos in 322 BC, when Athenian naval supremacy gave way to Macedonian hegemony.

Dr. Bjørn Lovén of University of Copenhagen is specialised in ancient harbours and submerged sites. He received his MA in Classical Archaeology from Aarhus University and his PhD from University of London. Dr. Lovén is the director of the Zea Harbour Project since 2001 and the co-director of the newly started Lechaion Harbour Project that investigates the main harbour of Ancient Corinth. He has extensive field work experience totalling 5-and-half-year: 40 months on submerged sites, 9.5 months on shipwreck sites and 16.5 months on land sites. Dr. Lovén and his colleagues published the first monograph on the slipways and shipsheds at Zea Harbour in 2011 and a second volume is coming out this year concluding their work on the naval installations at Zea.

The lecture is part of seminar series focused on Piraeus from the Geometric to the Roman period, organised by the 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. By these events, the Ephorate aims to introduce to a wider audience the Piraeus Archaeological Museum.

Before the lecture, on 6.30 p.m., there will be a guided tour by Mrs. Aggeliki Poulou. Tel. for participation in guided tour: 210 4590731 (7.30-15.30) και 210 4590732 (15.00-22.00).