Progress of Works

Geophysical surveys
Excavations
Restoration Studies
Expropriations
Restoration Works
€16,850.00IN DONATIONS

Thanasis Martinos: €15,000.00

ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΣΙΜΩΝΙΔΗΣ Ο ΚΕΙΟΣ: €500.00

Diazoma Association: €400.00

ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΦΙΛΩΝ ΚΕΑΣ: €300.00

Maria Papatheodorou: €300.00

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Ancient Theater of Karthaia in Kea island

Description
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The theater of Karthaia is built at the foot of the citadel of the ancient city in a natural hollow of the hill. The position has been known since 1812. To date limited excavation cuts there have been made (in 1965 and from 1987 to 1991), which have brought to light part of two tiers and two stairways from the cavea.

Name of monument

Ancient Theater of Karthaia in Kea island

Category

Theater

Brief description

The theater of Karthaia is built at the foot of the citadel of the ancient city in a natural hollow of the hill. The position has been known since 1812. To date limited excavation cuts there have been made (in 1965 and from 1987 to 1991), which have brought to light part of two tiers and two stairways from the cavea.

Images - plans

There is complete surveying of visible remains of the theater in the archives of the Scientific Commission, named “Conservation, rehabilitation and enhancement of Kea’s monuments,” of the Resources Management Fund for Archaeological Projects (TDPEAE).

Documentation - Bibliography
  • O. Brøndsted, Reisen und Untersuchungen in Griechenland, Paris 1826, σ. 15
  • Ν. Zafiropoulos, AD 20 (1965) Β΄ p. 507
  • G. Mendoni, Kea I. Inscriptions and other written sources about the island. Portrait – Topography – Traditions – History, thesis, Athens 1988, vol. B, p. 734
  • G. Mendoni, “Archaeological research in Kea: Ancient Karthaia”, Archaeognosia 4 (1985-1986) [1989], p. 170-171
  • Κ. Manthou, Archaeology and history of Kea island, Introduction-Translation-Comments by Lina G.Mendoni, 1991, p. 56-57, 129
  • Ε. Simantoni-Bournia – L.G. Mendoni – Τ.-Μ. Panagou, Karthaia …this narrow rocky piece of land…, Athens 2009, p. 179-181.
Location

The theater is located low at the foot of the southern slope of the Aspri Vigla hill, in Vathipotamos valley, about 200 m. from the current winter’s coastline. Its location is Poles in the area of Kato Meria of the Cycladic municipality of Kea.

Dating

From findings of the cuts that have been made so far, there is no evidence for the existence of the theater’s building phases. The pottery found in the backfill is mixed, from the archaic up to the Roman times, and contains several architectural fragments from buildings in the citadel. The theater is generally dated to the Hellenistic period.

General description of Monument

This is a small theater of simple construction, integrated into the topography of the region and adapted to the needs of the city. The monument probably showed the tripartite structure of Hellenistic theaters: cavea, orchestra, stage building.

The cavea had 4 or 5 tiers with at least 15 rows of seats each. Archaeologists have discovered two of its stairways of 20 steps and part of two of its tiers. Each row of seats we have two levels of stairs. The theater’s maximum capacity is estimated at 2,000 spectators. No upper diazoma has been disclosed.

Judging from visible residues on the surface and from the findings of the incisions, the monument appears to have been entirely built. The seats are formed of large slabs of greenish shale, which are based on rectangular or trapezoidal stones white enamel. More details about the formation of the lanes and the retaining walls, which must have constrained the cavea on the sides, are expected to be revealed after the excavation of the monument.

Only a small peripherical part of the orchestra, with a paved walkway has been found. N. Zafeiropoulos also notes that between the orchestra and the lower part of the cavea he identified a low construction like a parapet surrouinding the orchestra.

There has not been an excavation yet in the area, where archaeologists expect to find remains of the stage building. The surviving remains of the stage and the orchestra are covered by backfilling of 3.50 m.

At the southern end of the theater there are extensive remains of the ancient city’s water supply system.

 

Dating

There is indirect evidence for the existence of the theater of Karthaia testified by the copestones which were inscribed for the city’s resolutions (3rd-2nd century BC.), where it is written that the wreath to the honored persons was given “for their participation in Dionysus’s theater competitions.” Therefore, the theater of Karthaia was a venue for drama competitions, but also most likely for  public assemblies, although this is not attested in inscriptions.

Current situation

Stones on the surface of the visible part of the theater’s cavea have been removed in a great extent. Its stones were used as building material in adjoining buildings (church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, priest’s cell, warehouses) already existing in 1812.

The buried part of the theater, which came to light during the excavations, is found to be in a very good condition. The same level  of preservation is presumed to exist in the orchestra and probably in the stage

Excavations - Interventions

Exploratory works have taken place in  the theater in two periods.

In 1965, the Ephorate of Cyclades under N. Zafeiropoulos aimed to ascertain its exact position and dimensions. It was then when some wall-mounted walls covering the visible parts of the theater were dismantled. An excavation section was also carried out, revealing part of the seats and one staircase.

During the period 1987-1991 a systematic research on the monument was carried out by the interdisciplinary research team under Dr. L. Mendoni, bringing to light part of two tiers and two staircases up to the level of the orchestra.

In the framework of the project “Maintenance and Promotion of Ancient Karthaia in Kea island” (Ministry of Culture & Toutism – Managmenet Fund for Archaeological Works), a topographical depiction of the monument was made and the theateer was included in the general topographic plan of the Acropolis of Karthaia and its immediate area.

Most of the monument is still buried and covered by stone fences. There has been no intervention whatsoever.

Permitted uses

Visiting the archaological site

History of modern uses

No modern uses of the site.

Additional information

The monument belongs to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture & Tourism /  21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Matters of excavation/mainetnace are handled by the Scientific Committee for the “Preservation, rehabilitation and enhancement of the monuments of Kea island,” under the Managmenet Fund for Archaeological Works.

Copyrights

Ministry of Culture & Tourism /  21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Jurisdiction

Ministry of Culture & Tourism /  21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Latitude

37.559849°

Longitude

24.330071°

NameDateAmount (€)
Thanasis Martinos15.000.00
ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΣΙΜΩΝΙΔΗΣ Ο ΚΕΙΟΣ500.00
Diazoma Association400.00
ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΣ ΦΙΛΩΝ ΚΕΑΣ300.00
Maria Papatheodorou300.00
Konstantinos Papadonopoulos200.00
Stephanos Tsolakides100.00
Mavra Lazari30.00
Pavlos Arvanitopoulos20.00
Total
€16.850.00

Expenditures

ExpenditureDateAmount (€)
Ancient theater of Karthaia Β’ ΔΟΣΗ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ – 20/10/20157.117.89
Ancient theater of Karthaia ΑΡΧΙΤΕΚΤΟΝΙΚΗ ΜΕΛΕΤΗ Α΄ΔΟΣΗ – 11/05/20152.846.92
Ancient theater of Karthaia ΕΞΟΦΛΗΣΗ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ Λ.ΛΑΣΚΑΡΗ4.146.34
Ancient theater of Karthaia ΦΟΡΟΣ Α΄ΔΟΣΗΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ – 31/08/2015502.08
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΚΑΡΘΑΙΑΣ ΚΕΑΣ ΑΠΟΔΟΣΗ ΠΑΡΑΚΡΑΤΟΥΜΕΝΟΥ ΦΟΡΟΥ1.382.11
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΚΑΡΘΑΙΑΣ ΚΕΑΣ ΑΠΟΔΟΣΗ ΠΑΡΑΚΡΑΤΟΥΜΕΝΟΥ ΦΟΡΟΥ829.27
Total
€16.824.61
Balance
€25.39