Sparta Excavation 1906-1910 Season 1906
Excavation: Research excavation
This first season's work at the site of ancient Sparta by the British School at Athens revealed a number of remains. First, the fragmentary walls enclosing the ancient Acropolis were traced in their entire circuit and the position of the gates ascertained. These fortifications were begun in late Roman times after the sack of Sparta by the Goths. Materials were discovered from the Agora and adjoining buildings, and many inscriptions were found built into the foundations. The front of the Greek theatre was incorporated in the defences, but the lower rows of seats are well preserved and the orchestra floor was reached at a depth of nineteen feet. The Greek city wall enclosed a far larger area, with a circuit of six miles. Since it was known that Sparta was originally a group of unwalled villages, one such site was explored on the right bank of the Eurotas; its lower strata yielded early geometric pottery. Other Greek remains were traced along the river bank for half a mile, including private houses of the simplest kind, a public building of massive masonry, and the famous sanctuary of Artemis Orthia. All these were enclosed by the city wall, dating from the third century B.C. A trial trench was made which brought to light some hundreds of lead figures, an inscription bearing the name Artemis Orthia and other objects, suggesting that the site of an important temple overlaid with Roman remains including a theatre-like structure. There were two principal strata determined: the older, characterised by geometric pottery and exquisitely carved ivories, extends to the seventh century B.C.; the later, which has yielded quantities of lead figurines and grotesque terracotta masks, ranges from the seventh to the fifth century. Upwards of fifty inscriptions found during the excavations record the names of boy victors. So important had the festival become in the third century AD that a permanent theatre-like building was constructed to seat the spectators. The complete exploration of the precinct of Artemis with its vast accumulation of votive offerings was deamed to require at least another season of excavation.
Active in 1906.
Dawkins, Mr Richard McGillivray
Dickins, Mr Guy
Tillyard, Professor Henry Julius Wetenhall
Wace, Mr Alan John Bayard
Droop, Professor John Percival
Traquair, Mr Ramsay
Evans, Sir Arthur John
[Journal] The Annual of the British School at Athens, no. 12 (1905/1906).
Bosanquet, Robert C., et al. 1906. Laconia: II. Excavations at Sparta, 1906. BSA 12: 277-479. Direct link