Limenoscope - Ancient Hellenic Ports
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Piraeus - Zea
 
The port of Zea in the eastern coast of the Piraeus peninsula was the main naval base of Athens fleet. Remains of the ship sheds, the walls that protected the basin, the quays and the auxiliary buildings have been located in the area, however most of them are not visible anymore, being covered by buildings or modern port installations.
Most probably, it was the first out of the three gulfs of Piraeus (Mounichia, Zea, Kantharos) that was formed appropriately for mooring the Athenian fleet after the Themistocles (493-492 B.C.) vision, who conceived a plan for developing the nautical ability of Athens and therefore the Piraeus ports.  
 

Figures

 
Main features
Region Saronic Gulf  
Use Military  
Prosperity period (centuries) 5th B.C. - 4th B.C.  
Existence of contemporary port Yes  
Findings on site Yes, remnants of the ship sheds, the moles, the related city walls and the Arsenal of Philon  
General description
The entrance to the basin of Zea was to the south, protected with two walled piers. In the eastern side ship sheds have been detected, some of which have been uncovered. It is possible that such buildings extended to the whole perimeter of the harbour, with the exception of area of the gulfs cove. In a small distance to the northwest remains of the famous Philon΄s Arsenal ("Σκευοθήκη του Φίλωνος") have been found, where the spare and removable parts of the triremes were guarded.
Researches have been conducted to the area by:
1. Gracer 1872, was the first to dwell on the area, found 41 ship sheds in Zea and Mounichia.
2. Milchofer 1881, removed some remains of the ship sheds in the eastern side of Zea (columns not grooved) and marble ophthalmoi (=eyes).
3. Dragatsis and Dorpfeld 1885, excavated 10 ship sheds in the eastern side of Zea basin.
4. Blackman 1968, noticed the existence of sloped surfaces (ramps) in submerged remains of ship sheds found in Zea harbour.
5. Danish Institute 2000-today, under the supervision of archaeologist P. Loven applies a program for recording ancient remains in the port of Zea. An important element of the research is the proof for the theory that two ships were placed longwise in the ship shed (Loven 2005)  
Technical features
Construction period (centuries) 5th B.C. - 4th B.C.  
Port configuration Natural Harbour, Inner Harbour  
Port basin size m2 
Main wind direction S
Port land area km2 
Port entrance At the south in between the two walled moles.  
Change of sea surface elevation 1.5 m 
Sedimentation No  
Outer port structures Moles
Inner port structures  
Land facilities Shipsheds, Defence Structures, Store Buildings  
Construction method Ashlar blocks  
Neotectonic history  
Shore line displacement  
Function and operations
The port of Zea was the main navy yard of Athens. Walls were built and transformed it to a protected naval base at the beginning of 5th century B.C. Most probably another wall in the perimeter isolated the port from the main city. Inside the port area, the remains of the ship sheds have been located and the existence of other facilities can be assumed. Researchers (Danish Institute) discovered separative constructing phases at the ship sheds. In the middle of the 3rd century B.C. the Philon's Arsenal was built, most probably belonging to an extensive building program in the decade after 355 B.C. (Papaxantzis 1974, p.107).  
Sources
References in ancient literature
  • Αιλιανός, Ποικίλη Iστορία 2. 13
  • Αππιανός, Λιβικά 96, Μιθριδάτειος 30, 40, 41
  • Αριστοτέλης, Πολιτικά, ΙΙ 8, Αθ. Πολιτεία, 19, 37, 38, 54, 24, 46, 49, 61
  • Αριστοφάνης, Ιππείς 815, Ειρήνη 145
  • Βιτρούβιος 7. 152. 12
  • Δείναρχος, Kατά Φιλοκλέους 1, 13, Kατά Δημοσθένους παρ. 17
  • Δημοσθένης 34. 37, 19. 60, 19. 125
  • Διογένης Λαέρτιος, 6. 1
  • Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης, 11. 41, 12. 49, 14. 33, 14. 85, 18. 64, 18. 68, 20. 45
  • Δίων Χρυσόστομος, 6. 87, 25. 4
  • Ηρόδοτος, 6. 116, 8. 76, 77, 107, 92. 5, 93
  • Θεόφραστος, Χαρακτήρες 23
  • Θουκυδίδης, 1. 93, 93. 3, 107, 2. 13, 13. 8, 93, 94, 7. 11, 12. 4, 8. 90
  • Ισοκράτης, Αεροπογειτικός 66, Περί Αντιδόσεως 307
  • Καλλίμαχος Ύμνος εις την ’ρτεμιν, 259
  • Λυκούργος, Κατά Λεωκράτους παρ. 11
  • Ξενοφών Ελληνικά , 4. 10, 2, 2. 4, 4. 31, 4. 11, Ανάβασις 7, 1. 27
  • Παυσανίας, Ι. 1. 2, 1. 1. 3, 1. 4, 2, 3, 25. 5 8. 10. 4
  • Πλάτων, Γοργίας 455
  • Πλίνιος, ΝΗ. 38. 1, 7. 37. 125
  • Πλούταρχος, Θεμιστοκλής, 32, 19. , Δημήτριος 8, Κίμων 13, Σύλλας 14
  • Πολύαινος, Στρατηγικά Ι 40. 3
  • Στράβων, 9. 1, 1. 15, 2, 395 , Ι. 3  
  • Related researches Archeological  
    Findings in museums Yes, columns of the ship sheds, pyramidal anchors possibly from triremes or for mooring purposes and marble ophalmoi, now at the Piraeus Archaeological Museum  
    Other references
  • Blackman D., 1968, "The Shipsheds" in J.S. Morrison and R.T. Williams, Greek Oared Ships 900-322 B.C., Cambridge, pp. 181-192, pl. 29-30
  • Dorpfeld W., 1883, "Die Skeuothek des Philon", Ath. Mitt. 8, pp. 147-164.
  • Foucart P., 1882, "L'arsenal de Philon", B.C.H. 6, pp. 540-555
  • Graser B., 1872, "Meine messungen in den altathenischen Kriegshafen", Philologus XXXI, Gottingen, pp. 1-65
  • Loven P., 2002 and 2005, σχετικά με την έρευνα του Δανικού Ινστιτούτου άρθρα, υπό έκδοση στα Tropis VIII & Tropis IX (ed. Tzalas X.)
  • Milchofer, A., 1881, "Der Peiraieus", in Curtius, E., Kaupert, J.A., Karten von Attika; Heft I, Athen und Peiraieus, Berlin, pp. 23-72
  • Steinhauer G., 1996, "La decouverte de I'arsenal de Philon", in Tropis IV, Athens, pp. 471-480
  • Zea Harbour Project, http://www.zeaharbourproject.dk/ (15-12-05) Αγγελόπουλος Η., 1898, Περί Πειραιώς και των λιμένων αυτού κατά τους αρχαίους χρόνους, Αθήνα
  • Δραγάτσης, I., 1885, "Έκθεσις περι των εν Πειραιεί ανασκαφών", ΠΑΕ, Αθήναι, σσ. 63-71, Πιν. 2, 3
  • Δραγάτσης, I. - Αγγελόπουλος Η., 1899, "Περί των εν Πειραιεί ανασκαφών", ΠΑΕ, Αθήναι, σσ. 37-41
  • Πανάγος Χ.Θ., 1968, Ο Πειραιεύς, Οικονομική και ιστορική έρευνα από των αρχαιοτάτων χρόνων μέχρι του τέλους της ρωμαϊκής αυτοκρατορίας, Αθήνα (2η έκδοση με νεώτερα στοιχεία για την τοπογραφία και την οικονομική ζωή του Πειραιά από τον Έφορο Αρχαιοτήτων Γ. Σταϊνχάουερ, Αθήνα 1995)
  • Παπαχατζής Ν., 1974, Παυσανίου Ελλάδος Περιήγησις, τομ. Ι, Αττικά, Αθήνα
  • Παρνασσός, 1881, "Οι νεώσοικοι της Ζέας και τα περί αυτούς ευρήματα", τομ. ΧΙ, τευχ. 36, Αθήνα, σ. 109
  • Πετριτάκη Μ., 1997, "Οδός Μουτσοπούλου και Σηραγγείου", Α.Δ.., σσ. 77-78
  • Σαατσόγλου-Παλιαδέλη Χ., 1978, "Μαρμάρινοι οφθαλμοί από το λιμάνι του Πειραιά", Α.Ε., σσ. 119-135
  • Σταϊνχάουερ Γ.Α., 2000, "Αρχαίος Πειραιάς: Η πόλη του Θεμιστοκλή και του Ιππόδαμου" στο Σταϊνχάουερ Γ. Α. - Μαλικούτη Μ. Γ. - Τσοκόπουλος Β., Πειραιάς, Κέντρο Ναυτιλίας και Πολιτισμού, Αθήνα, σσ. 9-123
  • Τραυλός Ι.Ν. ,1972, "Πειραιεύς" Εγκυκλοπαίδεια Δομή, σσ. 442-456
  • Βλέπε επίσης Βιβλιογραφία Κανθάρου  
  • Protection regime  
    Author Theotokis Theodoulou  
    Editor Theotokis Theodoulou  
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