Ancient Olympia: 30 meters of eastern stoa excavated, drainage probs

Archaeological Council approves study to drain water from excavated gymnasium at Ancient Olympia

The Central Archaeological Council announced its approval of a study to drain rainwater from the gymnasium at Ancient Olympia after another thirty meters of the eastern stoa, or colonnade, has been revealed in excavations.

The Ministry of Culture stated that the gymnasium is a large quadrangular building, with stoas surrounding its central court. The west wing probably had a series of rooms for the athletes. The better-studied east wing consists of a solid outer wall, an internal double Doric colonnade, and another colonnade of sixty columns along the court.

The colonnade along the court has been excavated to 70 meters, whereas the recent excavations add 30 to this. Excavators estimate that another 80 meters remain to be uncovered provided that the project can secure further NSRF funding. The project has been included in the 2007-2013 NSRF cycle of funds.

The rainwater that used to run along the huge gymnasium, covered a total of about 2.2 hectares, but these now gather at a basin and flood up the site. The report approved by the Council aims at resolving the issue by diverting the water towards the Kladeos River, nearby.

The surviving remains of the gymnasium where athletes practiced prior to the Olympic Games dates at around the 2nd century B.C. The north section has yet to be excavated.

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