Odeion: Aims 2007
The Odeion or concert building is on a terrace north of the Lower Agora, partly built into the slope below the Upper Agora. The construction consisted of a covered semi-circular auditorium (radius 24 m), preceded to the south by a stage building with a facade (ca. 50m long). Part of the Odeion's back wall still stands to its full height, preserving the square beam holes for its roof, but showing several repairs. The auditorium may have seated up to 2,000 spectators. The Odeion could have been entered from the west, where a row of steps leading down to the orchestra is still visible near the point where it abuts the Hadrianic Nymphaeum, as well as from the east, where an arched entrance hall was excavated in 2005 and 2006.
This year, we will continue excavation in the eastern part of the Odeion. After the uncovering of a large part of the scena (the back wall of the stage) and of the two corridors, we intend to examine the area north of this previously excavated part. There, the orchestra and cavea (where the audience sat) are situated. Until now, only a small sector of it has been cleared, so excavating more is needed to improve our knowledge of the concert hall's general layout. Also, practical matters are involved in this choice. Because of the slope of the northeastern part and the presence of a huge pile of stones in the middle of the Odeion, we have to dig first in this zone. If we began more to the west, removal of the debris of this area would become problematic.
The excavation of the cavea can proceed rather quickly, as the amount of soil covering the higher parts of the seating is limited, but the central area is buried under a thick layer of debris. Nonetheless, the state of preservation of this part is probably not so well as the eastern entrance hall, so we estimate that we can finish more sectors than we did in 2006.
Besides the clearance of new areas, we also intend to further investigate old sectors, where test soundings can maybe provide additional date about structural changes and the chronology. Also the water infrastructure, discovered at the end of 2006 below the foundations of Corridor 1, needs more research.
It time allows, it would be preferable to do a small investigation east of the Odeion, where we suspect the existence of a street, as people could enter the building from outside via a door in Corridor 2.
Our major aims for this year, and successive campaigns, are:
- Investigate the layout of all different parts of the Odeion, so that it will be possible to complete the ground plan of this monument.
- Better define the building history. As it is already obvious from the two previous campaigns, some parts still show the original layout, but others have signs of several repairs in later periods.
- Investigate whether or not the structural changes are connected with possible functional modifications.
- Establish new data for the original building date and the chronology of successive alterations. Extra test soundings will be necessary. This will be especially the case in Corridor 1, where we expect to find remains of the original building operation that it can be compared with the construction date of the scena.