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Athenian Agora - The Southeast Fountainhouse

fountainhouseAround 530-520 BC, when the Peistratid family was still in power, a number of houses near the southeast corner of the Agora were dismantled to make room for the Southeast Fountainhouse. Its remains (only the foundations are preserved) are located just to the south of the Church of the Ayioi Apostoloi.

The fountainhouse measured ca. 7 x 18 m and was built of nicely cut, yellow limestone blocks. Two smaller reservoirs, which would have been provided with terracotta spouts, opened off a larger central room. The excavators found both terracotta supply and overflow pipes. (These are no longer visible, but similar terracotta water pipes have been found in recent excavations elsewhere in Athens. Examples are on display in the Evangelismos and Syntagma metro stations.)

The Southeast Fountainhouse must have been considered a welcome addition to the Agora, as it provided the many visitors with a constant supply of easily available fresh water. It may also have served some of the households in the neighborhoods surrounding the Agora.

The Southeast Fountainhouse must have escaped the Persian destruction of 480/479 BC or was rebuilt, as Pausanias mentioned it when he visited the Agora in the 2nd century AD. He mistakenly called it the Enneakrounos or Nine-Spouted Fountain, which is more likely to have been to the south of the Acropolis, near the Ilissos river.

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