Data copyright © Harrison Eiteljorg, II unless otherwise stated
Center for the Study of Architecture
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The so-called older propylon on the Athenian Acropolis (the entrance to the Acropolis preceding the Propylaea, the grand entrance that was built just after the completion of the Parthenon) was investigated by Harrison Eiteljorg, II, in 1975 and again in 1987 and 1989, thanks to the permission granted by the Greek authorities and the good offices of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens which assisted in obtaining permissions. Changes in the data, and, consequently, in the files included with this document, continued to occur until January of 2004. The initial work was funded personally by Eiteljorg. The preparation of the material for archival preservation was funded by the Center for the Study of Architecture. It should be noted, however, that there has been a scholarly publication of the material: Harrison Eiteljorg, II, The Entrance to the Athenian Acropolis Before Mnesicles, Archaeological Institute of America, 1994. There has also been a follow-up article dealing with arguments raised by a review of the book; see Harrison Eiteljorg, II, "Revisiting the Pre-Mnesiklean Entrance to the Athenian Acropolis," American Journal of Archaeology, V. 115, no. 4, 2011.
The remains examined were those related to the Acropolis entrance between the end of the Bronze Age - the end of the thirteenth century B.C.E. - and 437 B.C.E. when the Propylaea was begun. However, the only studied material relevant to the period prior to the middle of the sixth century was the fortification wall, and the portion studied was that part of the wall that survived in the entrances of the sixth and fifth centuries and that remains standing today.
The project was an excavation in the sense that the materials composing the bulk of the older entrance had to be uncovered. However, the area had been excavated at least twice before and probably three times. In addition, a portion of the area had been covered with a pavement to keep run-off water from reaching the foundations of the Propylaea; so part of the site (in general, all of the so-called lower courtyard) could not be examined. As it happened, the previous excavations had not reached bedrock in one crucial area.
The older propylon was also studied thoroughly by William Bell Dinsmoor, Jr., over a long period of time. The Eiteljorg publication, The Entrance to the Athenian Acropolis Before Mnesicles, appeared in 1994, and the Dinsmoor publication, The Propylaia I: The Predecessors, in 1991. To the extent that terminology is important with any of the materials here, the Eiteljorg work should be considered to be determinative.