ROOM B: THE ANCIENT CITY ON THE MEGALI RACHI HILL THE HISTORICAL IDENTITY OF UPPER MACEDONIA, ELIMIOTIS AND AIANI. PREHISTORIC FINDS
Room B (floor area 89 sq. m.) presents a display of finds from the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic phases of the ancient city on the Megali Rachi hill. Having been introduced to the history and form of ancient Aiani by the scale-model and the wall panel with texts and pictures, the visitor can follow the development of the city through finds from the public buildings and private dwellings.
The decision to place the marble statue of Nike in a freestanding case immediately visible from the entrance to the room was dictated by the beauty of the find, which dates from the Classical era and once served as an acroterion on one of the city’s buildings. Between the entrance and this statue stands the small case 3, which contains the bronze statuette of a peplos kore from the handle of a mirror produced by a local metalworking workshop in the second quarter of the 5th century BC. Case 4 contains a display of stamped tiles, decorated architectural members of clay and stone, and a section of the marble head of a youth from the early 5th century BC, which probably formed part of a pediment.
Cases 5 and 6, which form a unified whole, contain a display of Corinthian, red-figure and Attic and non-Attic black-figure pottery dating from between the second quarter of the 6th century and the late 4th century BC. Case 7 contains samples of relief pottery, together with a few fragments of pottery moulds, arranged in groups according to the type of representation they bear: Homeric scenes (the most common of which is that of the Sack of Troy, with the names of the heroes), erotic and mythological scenes, and floral designs. In the next showcase, case 8, we have placed samples of the type of pottery known as ‘West Slope ware’, from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, as well as pottery with painted and impressed decoration from the 4th century BC and later.
Cases 9 and 10, which also form a unified whole, contain inscribed pottery fragments from the Late Classical and Hellenistic eras and terracotta figurines, accompanied by explanatory texts. Many of the inscribed sherds reveal information about the activities of workshops and other commercial transactions and were produced by pottery and coroplastic workshops both in Aiani and other areas.
Cases 11, 12 and 13 contain objects of domestic life, mainly vessels of everyday use that were found in the houses of the ancient city. These are arranged in groups, according to their use: vessels for carrying, pouring and drinking liquid foods, vessels for preparing food, receptacles for holding solid and liquid foods, and cooking vessels. Most of the objects in case 13 take the form of clay unguentaria (perfume flasks), which contained perfumes for personal beautification, and clay lamps, which are accompanied by the bronze base of a lamp-stand.
The roughly semicircular case 14 in the corner has been designed as a reconstruction of the large Cistern (8.5 m. deep) that lies in the highest public building in the ancient city. Many of the clay pots that were recovered from the bottom of the cistern have been placed inside it. In the next showcase, case 15, we have placed the three bronze vessels, two jugs and a situla that were also found in the cistern. From the text accompanying the reconstruction it will become apparent that cisterns of this kind were one of the most important technological achievements of the ancient world. The latest vases found in the cistern date from the 2nd century BC and so provide a terminus ante quem for the use of the cistern and the building, which, judging by the masonry and the finds discovered in it, dates from the early 5th century BC.
Dr Georgia Karamitrou – Mentesidi
Photos of Room B: