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AMALIAS SHAFT – Exhibition of archaeological finds


For the construction of the Athens Metro Project, it was deemed necessary to carry out archaeological excavations extending over 76,000 square meters the largest ever archaeological excavation project in Athens. Throughout the achaeological excavations, 50,000 finds were encountered. The cost for such an extensive project exceeded 50,000,000 euros.

ATTIKO METRO S.A., in close co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, funded the exhibition of our cultural heritage at the Metro Stations and at outdoor exhibitions.

In particular, apart from SYNTAGMA, PANEPISTIMIO, EVANGELISMOS, AKROPOLI & DAFNI Stations, archaeological finds are exhibited in specially configured  areas:

  • At the Archaeological park at the University Campus (at Zografou)
  • At Syntagma Square
  • At Rizari Park
  • At Petmeza Ventilation Shaft (at the intersection with Petmeza and Falirou Streets)

In the past, ATTIKO METRO S.A. had decided to relocate the ventilation shaft which was located at the intersection of Amalias Avenue with Vas. Olgas (Zappio), since at its original location a significant bath complex was unexpectedly revealed. Today, the most important archaeological finds which came to light during the said archaelogical excavation are exhibited in a properly configured outdoor area, exactly where they were encountered.

ATTIKO METRO S.A., in co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, will keep up the work related to the exhibition and the highlighting of our cultural heritage through respective exhibitions at the extension of Line 3 to Egaleo. The Metro project continues to dig into the athenian past in order to build the future of Athens.

Technical Description

The construction includes a metal shed made of stainless steel, 16x26m., and a cover which was constructed over the archaeological trench. At the street level and within the envelope of the shed, a perimeter corridor was created, 2,2m. wide as to its side from Amalias Avenue and 1,5m. as to its remaining three sides.

The architectural design for the safeguarding and the exhibition of the roman bath complex was carried out by ATTIKO METRO S.A. in co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, while the structural, electromechanical and phototechnical designswere carried out by specialized ATTIKO METRO S.A.’ associates.

The most archaeological finds revealed during the archaeological excavation at AMALIAS SHAFT (ZAPPIO)

In the Zappio excavation, among the earliest finds, there is a large trapezoid structure and a square structure of the late Classical Period (4th century B.C.).  The trapezoid structure might have been the precinct of an open air temple and the square structure might have been a pedestal or an altar.

The northern section of the excavation is occupied by a bath complex, which developed between two beautifully built and especially high walls and continues eastwards, into the National Garden, as well as westwards, into the Amalias Avenue subsoil. The bath complex was founded towards the end of the 3rd century or early in the 4th century A.D. and includes two fireplaces (areas where fire was burning to heat the bath pools), two rooms for hot and warm water baths and a large pool for cold baths.

The bath complex, following its destruction, was rebuilt and extended in the 5th century A.D. In its second phase, the bath rooms were repaired and used again. One of them was built underground with an arched ceiling, where a well was bored as a water source.  Its interior is carefully built and the interior walls had paintings with human figures, fish, birds and crosses, which must have been drawn at a later age, when the pool was converted into a refuge or torture place.

South of the bath complex, a pavement belonging to a Roman road was revealed, which served, in all probability, the bath complex needs.

In the Byzantine times, 9 clay jars are sunk in the floors of the bathrooms, while throughout the excavation area,  there is a row of 29 pits (holes sunk in the ground for the storage of corn).

Two late Byzantine furnaces constitute the last evidence of the area’s land use before its conversion into part of the Royal Garden in the times of King Otto’s reign.

In an underground tunnel, close to the Zappio shaft, at a depth of some 20 meters, wells with abundant pottery inside them have been identified.  In one of them there were numerous wine amphorae dating from the 2nd to the 1st century B.C.

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