Progress of Works

Geophysical surveys
Excavations
Restoration Studies
Expropriations
Restoration Works
€3,070.00IN DONATIONS

Fenia Rougouni: €10.00 on 29/03/2018

Kalomoira Gavrielatou: €10.00 on 27/03/2018

Stefanos Tsolakidis: €100.00

Christina Evangelinidou: €100.00

Alexandra Radou: €150.00

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Theatre of ancient Gitana

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The Theatre of ancient Gitana is located in Gitana, Municipality of Philiates, Thesprotia Prefecture.

It was built in the mid-3rd century BC, a time of increased building activity in Epirus, and destroyed by the Romans in 167 BC.

The theatre is built on the lower level of the settlement, outside the walls, and is protected by a rampart. Further natural protection is afforded by the River Kalamas, towards which it is oriented.

It seems that the theatre was originally built in stone, mainly using white limestone. The orchestra forms a full circle which contains an inscribed square and is intersected by the proscenium. The cavea consists of 28 tiers of seats with two passageways, while there may also have been an epitheatre. Four staircases have been revealed, dividing the cavea into five cunei to which must be added a further two – now half-ruined – at the outer edges of the cavea.

The theatre seats are made of carefully-dressed limestone, and many bear incised inscriptions with names on the front side. The retaining walls which supported the cavea have not been fully uncovered.

The stage is a rectangular stone building measuring 15.50 x 5.50 m. Inside it was discovered a colonnade consisting of seven rectangular pillars, which would have supported the roof of the stage building. In the centre of the stage is a doorway through which the actors would have entered, while the floor is made of rubble and beaten earth.

The façade of the stage forms a proscenium whose stylobate (base) is preserved to a length of 15.50 m. and an average width of 0.50 m. There were square parascenia on either side of the stage.

Intense erosion by the nearby River Kalamas causes serious problems to the theatre area and makes it imperative to take the necessary measures. When the Kalamas floods its banks, water covers the stage, the orchestra and the front tiers of seats. The circulation of underground water, which contributes to the erosion of the already crumbling limestone bedrock of the area, has caused the whole cavea to slope to the west, shifting the seats from their original position.

Following the completion of the work to promote the archaeological site of Gitana, in June 2009, the theatre will be incorporated in the visitors’ route.

Theodora Lazou
Historian, Archaeologist

Fred Boissonnas in Gitana

A project by the Arsakeia Schools in Ioannina (Epirus).

Monument Name

Theatre of Ancient Gitana

Category

Theatre

Brief Description

The theatre is built on the lower level of the settlement, outside the walls, and is protected by a rampart. Further natural protection is afforded by the River Kalamas, towards which it is oriented.

Images - Plans

There are full photographical records and drawings of the excavated section of the monument.

Documentation - Bibliography

1. Hammond N. G. L., Epirus, London 1967, pp. 83-86 2. Δάκαρης Σ. Ι., Θεσπρωτία, Αθήνα 1972, pp. 108-111, 120-122, 150, 179, 182-183, 185-186, 204 3. Πρέκα Αλεξανδρή Κ., Α.Δ. 52 (1997), Χρονικά, pp. 614-617 4. Preka-Alexandri K., “Recent Excavations in Ancient Gitani”, L’Illyrie méridionale et l’Epire dans l’ antiquité IIΙ, 1999, pp.167-169 5. Ρήγινος Γεώργιος, et al., Μελέτη ανάδειξης αρχαιολογικού χώρου Γιτάνης, Unpublished paper, Igoumenitsa 2003 6. Σάρρας Γ. Γιάννης, Η Θεσπρωτία δια μέσου των αιώνων 40.000 π.Χ. μέχρι σήμερα, Athens 1998, vol. 1, pp. 98-104, 117, 125, 129, 133-135, 139-146, 159-168, 175, 177, 214-225, 231-241.

Location

Gitana, Municipality of Philiates, Thesprotia Prefecture.

Dating

The theatre is dated, fairly securely, to the mid-3rd century BC, a time of increased building activity in Epirus, especially under the rule of Pyrrhus, and a time of prosperity for Gitana, as indicated by the current excavation data. The theatre was destroyed by the Romans in 167 BC.

 

General Description of Monument

The ancient Theatre of Gitana is built on the lower level of the settlement, outside the walls, and is protected by a rampart. Further natural protection is afforded by the River Kalamas, towards which it is oriented.

It appears that the theatre was originally stone-built, as no traces of earlier temporary wooden structures have been observed. The main building material was white limestone.

Orchestra. It forms a full circle which contains an inscribed square and is intersected by the proscenium. Cavea. This has a maximum diameter of 65 m. and a minimum diameter of 24 m. It consists of 28 tiers of seats with two passageways, while there may also have been an epitheatre. Four staircases have been revealed, dividing the cavea into five cunei to which must be added a further two – now half-ruined – at the outer edges of the cavea.

The theatre seats are made of carefully-dressed, rectangular limestone blocks, while some in the central cuneus have been carved directly out of the conglomerate limestone bedrock. Many seats bear incised inscriptions with names on the front side. The retaining walls which supported the cavea have not been fully uncovered. They are preserved to a length of 14 m. and are approximately 1 m. thick, constructed according to the polygonal system. Stage building. The stage is a rectangular stone building measuring 15.50 x 5.50 m. The walls are constructed according to the polygonal system. Inside was discovered a colonnade consisting of seven rectangular pillars which would have supported the roof of the stage building. The pillars are of the slab type particularly common in Epirus and western Greece in general. In roughly the centre of the south wall of the stage is a 1.20 m. doorway through which the actors would have entered. The stage floor is made of rubble and beaten earth. The façade of the stage forms a proscenium. The stylobate (base) of the proscenium, consisting of 15 limestone slabs, is preserved to a length of 15.50 m. and an average width of 0.50 m. The slabs had sockets for inserting the tenons of 12 monolithic pilasters which supported a Doric entablature with a stone epistyle.
There must have been square parascenia opening onto the two narrow sides of the stage, as indicated by the remains of wall sections.

Current Situation

The greatest problem facing the theatre is flooding by the nearby River Kalamas, when water covers the stage, the orchestra and the front tiers of seats. There are obvious traces of damage to the inscriptions, particularly those on the lowest tiers. An embankment wall to protect the theatre from flooding has been constructed in the context of the site promotion work. Furthermore, the circulation of underground water, which contributes to the erosion of the already crumbling limestone bedrock of the area, has caused the whole cavea to slope to the west, shifting the seats from their original position. The cavea has come to light in fairly good condition as regards the state of preservation of the stone material, with the exception of the outermost cunei and the retaining walls. Of the stage building, on the contrary, only the foundations remain.

Excavations - Interventions

The first reference to the ancient ruins of Gitana is by N. G. Hammond, who visited the site in the 1930s. In the late 1960s, in the context of a research programme by the Athens Centre for Ekistics, the ancient site was mapped by the Army Geographical Service with extensive topographical mapping of the visible monuments within the settlement. In 1998 photogrammetric mapping of the theatre was carried out by the 8th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in collaboration with the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments (DAAM). Finally, in 2001 the Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME) drew up a geological-geotechnical report and a geophysics study in the archaeological site and the wider area of ancient Gitana, in order to examine the impact of the intense erosion caused by the nearby River Kalamas and implement the necessary protection measures. Excavations in the archaeological site of Gitana became systematic in 1995, under the direction of K. Preka. Systematic excavations in the theatre have brought to light part of the cavea, the orchestra and the stage. The systematic excavation of the theatre continued with interruptions in the years 2006 – 2008, for brief periods not exceeding 15 days a year, while in 2006 K. Preka was granted a permit to study the inscriptions on the theatre seats, the architecture and the moveable finds.

Permitted Uses

The theatre is included in the visitors’ tour route in the context of the work on the promotion of the archaeological site of Gitana, carried out by the 32nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in the framework of the 3rd CSF and completed in June 2009.

 

 

History of Modern Uses

Simple visit by agreement with the 32nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Further Information

The monument belongs to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture / 32nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Following the work on the promotion of the archaeological site of Gitana, carried out by the 32nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in the framework of the 3rd CSF and completed in June 2009, the theatre is included in the visitors’ tour route. Next to the theatre there is a viewing point with an information sign.

Intellectual Rights

Ministry of Culture / 32nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Jurisdiction

Ministry of Culture / 32nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

 

Latitude

39.5694549681°

Longitude

20.2991100348°

Altitude
0
NameDateAmount (€)
Fenia Rougouni29/03/201810.00
Kalomoira Gavrielatou27/03/201810.00
Stefanos Tsolakidis100.00
Christina Evangelinidou100.00
Alexandra Radou150.00
Arsakeia Schools in Ioannina300.00
Diazoma Association400.00
DEI - Terna SA2.000.00
Total
€3.070.00
Balance
€3.070.00
DescriptionBudgetTargetRemarks
Operations for monument's revelation0.00
Assignment of restoration research30.000.00
Additional operations - researches10.000.0010.000.00
  • A programmatic agreement for € 100,000 has been signed between the Ministry of Culture and the Region of Epirus, for the documentation and protection of the ancient theatre of Gitana, in Thesprotia.
  • Works at the ancient theatre of Gitana are underway. The project aims at documenting and collecting the necessary archaeological data by continuing the excavation research. Another aim is to take preparatory protection measures for the ancient theatre that will allow the realization of a monument restoration study in the future.
  • With money deposited in the “money box” bank account for the monument, in January 11, 2013, Diazoma assigned the contract for the project “Exploration of the possibilities of 3D Laser Scanner in the documentation of monuments: Creation of a 3D digital model of the ancient theater in Gitana” to the Democritus University of Thrace.
  • The modification of the Programmatic Agreement and the decision to increase the original budget by € 30,000 have already been signed in order to allow the assignments of the required rehabilitation studies to also join the funding program.
  • The procedure for the assignment of the theatre’s required rehabilitation studies is also in progress.
  • The competent Ephorate of Antiquities has already approved the direct assignment of the following studies:
  1. conducting structural study.
  2. conducting research study for the reconstitution of the stage structure.
  3. conducting study for the fastening, repair and restoration of the stage structure, the orchestra and the central tiers.
  4. Conducting study for the architectural mapping and documentation of the stage structure, the orchestra and the central tiers.

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