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Troizen: The Approach




  1. The Study


1.1 During 2012, and 2013, the Project is undertaking a comprehensive study using a range of non-invasive survey strategies of the ancient Troizen site.  The study will continue over a five year period from 2012.  This outcome of this study will be a map of the ancient Troizen site.  No archaeological work has been undertaken on this site since the 1940s (and previous to that the work undertaken was in 1890 and 1899). There is little literature that has been specifically dedicated to the study of the archaeology of ancient Troizen.


1.2 The approach will consist of a detailed survey to locate, identify, date, draw, photograph, measure and map major features of the site. Features should include walls, building structures, stone and other materials. The Project will be relying on the use of satellite and below ground detection technologies for the identification and measurement of features of the site. Until the map has been completed, no excavation or the collection or removal of any materials from the site will occur.  It is expected that once the map has been completed, the Project may be able to undertake some excavations on specific sites; this is proposed from 2014.


1.3 The survey will be undertaken by eminent and experienced archaeologists who have standing and reliability.


  • In particular, Professor Reinhard Stupperich from Heidelberg University is an experienced archaeologist and a scientific authority.


  • The intra-scientific project team will include archaeologists, historians, geographers, economic historians and anthropologists.


  • Members of the team are experienced in consolidation, conservation, protection and publication of the finds from archaeological projects.


  • The project will involve the use of the latest available technical infrastructure, including satellite positioning and mapping equipment and underground scanning equipment.


  • The project has adequate budget provision for the programme, conservation and publication of finds, and for the acquisition of appropriate technological equipment and housing accommodation for the on-site participants.



1.4 Many of the features that this Project is examining were included in a study by Gabriel Welter (1940) but many others were not. The most current knowledge of preserved ancient ruins is based on an 1897 sketchy map by Philippe-Ernest Legrand and the more exact map by Gabriel Welter, which was published in 1941.  This later map also covers some area of Troizen further north- see Attachments 1 and 2.


1.5 These maps are being used a as guide to:

  • exactly identify those features that are still visible; and
  • locate others which now have either been destroyed or hidden by dense vegetation, or where there are now extensive olive farms, and lemon, orange and other citrus farms.


1.6 The Project intends to find and measure the structures marked in Welter’s map, but also to find and mark new unknown archaeological structures.


1.7 The survey of Troizen is being undertaken in association with the Greek Archaeological Service of Piraeus. Institutional Partners include:


  • Institute of Classical Archaeology, Heidelberg University.
  • Department of Classical Archaeology, Sydney University.
  • Department of Classics and Ancient History, Sydney University.


1.8 The Project is aiming to encouraging a high level of Australian participation.



  1. Measuring Methods


2.1 The Features included in the detailed survey include:


  1. The Acropolis
  2. Sanctuary of Pan Lyterios
  3. Sanctuary of Aphrodite Akraia
  4. Sanctuary of Isis
  5. Sanctuary of Demeter Thesmophoros
  6. Sanctuary of Poseidon Phytalmios
  7. Western slopes of the town
  8. Western city walls
  9. Eastern city walls
  10. Diatchisma
  11. The walls at the northern end of the city
  12. Museion
  13. Agora
  14. Temple of Artemis
  15. Theatre
  16. Northern part of the town
  17. Devil’s George and Bridge
  18. Sanctuaries outside the city and to the west




2.2 To begin with, measuring was supported by recording these features by photographs.


2.3 While the ancient Troizen has not been overbuilt by modern structures, there is dense vegetation and steep and difficult terrain.  This has presented some difficult problems for measurement, so a traditional modern measuring survey with total station and prism has not been employed. To achieve a high degree of exactness, the new Differential Global Positioning System (D-GPS) instead of the Global Positioning System (GPS) technique has been used because the GPS technique is known to deliver location measurements that can be inaccurate by up to several metres.


2.4 The D-GPS: The Hiper II D-GPS from Topcon is being used. It uses both the help of the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS satellite systems to pinpoint positions. The set consists of two similar receivers. One is the base station, which has to be positioned on a point already measured before, so that the exact coordinates are known to the system, the other one is the rover, which is used for measuring in the field. Both have a built-in digital UHF module, and both use a permanent radio link with each other. The base transfers correction data to the rover in real-time so the measurements are corrected continually. This technology gives accurate measurements in the range of a few centimetres.


2.5 Field Measuring:  Because there were no fixed reference points available previously, fixed reference points have been set up to serve as the base station.  For the base station, the same points were measured over the period of several hours in order to approximate its position. In this way three different standpoints were created, one by the Asklepieion (to the west of the city), the second one close to the so-called ‘Frankish’ tower (in the centre of the city) and the last one on top of the Acropolis (to the southern end of the city).


2.6 The measuring team normally consists of three persons. One takes notes of all measurements while the other two are operating the rover and its field book. To take a measurement, members of the team with the rover, stand vertically on top of the point that has to be measured. Then the measurement is triggered by the field book. To be able to later correctly separate the archaeological structures at the post-processing period, different codes are used for each structure and noted in the field book and the project protocol.


2.7 To measure buildings and building foundations (e.g. rectangular towers or brick built Roman grave buildings), four outer and, where possible, the four inner corner points are taken. To measure the city walls, the endpoints are taken and some points in between for the inner and outer sides. In this way, the direction and the strength of the walls can be determined.


2.8 The basilica in the north of the Asklepieion, the so-called Museion, the Temple of Hippolytos, the site of Episkopi and Temple of Aphrodite, can be described as having architectonical complexity. This makes measuring more difficult, and so many more location points need to be recorded, using different codes to reconstruct the floor plans.


2.9 Additionally the course of the modern streets and some broad paths was measured. To undertake this measurement, a car was driven with the rover was mounted on top of it.


2.10 Post-Processing: On completion of measuring processes, all the different recorded measured points are connected with the help of the AutoCAD program. Afterwards different colours are assigned to the different archaeological structures to separate them optically from each other. The result is an accurate virtual plan of all the known visible remains of the ancient city of Troizen, which was completed in the September-October 2012 season.


2.11 Problems: The two D-GPS receivers do not need any eye contact between each other, but they need a free field of vision skywards to the satellites. This is not always possible because of the sometimes very dense vegetation on and around the site, and in these cases some incorrect measurements were recorded. While some of these incorrect measurements could be corrected during post-processing, a few others had to be discarded. Further measurements will be undertaken using these methods in the 2013 season, to obtain improved accurate readings.



  1. The Approach in 2013 for the Structures and Buildings


3.1 The Acropolis consists of a flat area, open at the northern end, covered with ruins of probably medieval or Venetian houses. The structures extend to the southern end of the Acropolis until an extremely steep peak prevents further access from the south, which still has evidence of walls of different times.


3.2 In 2012, the first detailed measurements were made of the walls on the eastern slopes and on top of the Acropolis. Most important are the city walls, which are from different times and from different buildings. Many of the building structures and wall structures consist of rough and more exact polygonal walls, often topped by medieval and perhaps even Venetian walls with bricks in between.


3.3  GPS measurement could not be undertaken at certain points on the Acropolis as it is not easy to connect to enough satellites there.  In addition, the steep and rocky terrain makes it very dangerous to get access to the southern peak with measuring equipment, and the ruins of the houses on the Acropolis are extremely overgrown.  However, the Acropolis walls were measured as well as the connection of the south end of the eastern city wall to the Acropolis walls.


3.4 The upper eastern city wall on the hill slope was found and measured intermittently from the Acropolis down to beyond the Diateichisma. On the western side, some probable parts of wall on the upper level were found, but it was difficult to find any ruins of what might be the city wall on the lower parts of the slope. A further search of ruins in this area will be undertaken in the 2013 season.


3.5 Some features measured using D-GPS, such as the upper western walls, show that they belong to structures included in Legrand’s and Welter’s maps in contradicting positions, whereas others are confirmed. To the latter, belong the traces of walls of probably three small sanctuaries close to the eastern wall, but on different levels. These were name by Legrand and Welter, but with some doubt, the Sanctuaries of Pan, Aphrodite Kataskopia and Isis, according to the names given by Pausanias.


3.6 There seem to have been ancient buildings on the steep hillside of the Acropolis as well between the two stretches of walls running down from the Acropolis to the plain. Several small stretches of more ancient walls between the more modern ones constructed for sheltering olive trees appear to be identifiable. The Diateichisma running along the foot of the hillside can be recognised in some parts besides the so-called Frankish tower. From this tower there are stretches of wall in different techniques running down to the west close to the riverlet coming from Devil’s Gorge. Just outside the town to the west some ancient water lines were measured, among which are the so-called Devil’s Bridge and another bridge below this, and further down some probably late stretches of wall lining the rivulet on its eastern side.


3.7 The Project included some work in the lower city in several areas. Walls found in the flat northern area of the town are those given in Welter’s map. The Project is yet to identify and measure these, as well any other features in this area. This will be a detailed area of study for 2013.


3.8 Approximate measurement of some of the modern streets and pathways in the fields has been taken.  These seem to stem from an ancient street grid and coincide with the general lay-out of the fields and orientation of some of the ancient structures that were found. Continuation of this work in 2013 will be with the aim of reconstructing the hypothetical street grid of the lower town.


3.9 The buildings and building elements we found inside and closely outside the walled town were also measured. We have also photographed All of the structures have been photographed to compile detailed descriptions, which will help with later analysis.

Attachment 1: Map- 1897 Legrand

Legrand map 1897 showing Troizen Acropolis, east and west fortification walls and a number of temples and sanctuaries - but not the northern walls

Legrand map 1897 showing Troizen Acropolis, east and west fortification walls and a number of temples and sanctuaries – but not the northern walls









Attachment 2: Map- Welter 1941

Attach 2