The Antonine Nymphaeum, a 10 meter high and 28 meter long monumental fountain, was constructed at the Upper Agora between A.D. 161 and 180 in order to embellish the ancient city's political center. Probably after the big earthquake of ca. A.D. 500, the damaged fountain was extensively restored, rearranged, and partially rebuilt, especially in its eastern section. The building finally collapsed completely during the earthquake of ca. 650. The fountain, covered by debris and erosional deposits, was excavated between 1993 and 1996. Because most of the building elements are very well preserved and the podium of the building is still in place, we can restore and reconstruct the monument.
We began restoration of the Antonine Nymphaeum in 1998. One goal of the project is to reconstruct the monument as much as possible by restoring its original elements and placing them in their original place. We also aim to restore its original function as a fountain by using the still-extant spring water that supplied it in antiquity. Furthermore, we will perform small-scale restorations around the building and on the Upper Agora in order to integrate the monument within its environment. Besides bringing about the best protection for the monument, the restoration project will also lead to a good presentation and understanding of both the monument and the Upper Agora.
We have planned the main restoration activity for the 2004 campaign to be the completion of the missing parts of columns and Corinthian capitals and their reconstruction by trials. Furthermore, temporary models for the missing capitals will be prepared in order to be able to continue the trial of architraves, cornices, and roof (cassette) blocks in their original layout. Arch reconstruction will also be a priority of the 2004 campaign. We also aim to reconstruct some of the aediculae (ornamentation). In this way, we can establish a complete or at least partial view of the building by the end of the season.
The fourth stage of the Northwest Heroon restoration will be carried out from June until September 2004. During previous campaigns, the in-situ podium of the monument has been completed and the replicas of the dancing girls frieze have been put in place. In 2003, the fill was raised to the top level of the dancing girls frieze. This year, the three rows of stones that complete the frieze's composition will be installed. The fill will be further raised and the reconstruction of the naiskos (enclosed sanctuary) of the monument will be commenced by completing the top column platforms, column base bricks, and lower temple walls.
In 2004, the composition of the dancing girls will be completed by placing the top three rows of stones above them. The re-installation of the naiskos will be commenced with the repair and placement of at least the top column platforms, column base bricks, and lower temple walls.