The University of Arizona

Radiocarbon Dating of the Amphipolis Bridge in Northern Greece, Maintained and Functioned for 2500 Years

Y Maniatis, D Malamidou, H Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Y Facorellis

Abstract


The remains of a wooden construction, recovered in the 1970s at the northwest sector of the walls of the ancient city of Amphipolis (northern Greece), have been recognized as foundation remains of a wooden bridge described by Thucydides in his description of the events that took place at Amphipolis in 424-422 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. Frequent repairs in the Roman, Byzantine, and even Ottoman periods are very probable. In the last 10 yr, conservation has been done to enhance this unique monument. This work involves systematic investigation with radiocarbon dating of all the verified or suspected phases of this wooden bridge. The dating results reveal the beginning of construction most probably in the Archaic period and confirm beyond a doubt that the major construction phase took place in Classical times. Successive phases, related to repairs rather than to major reconstructions, have been detected during the Hellenistic, Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine periods as well as the Ottoman era. The combined archaeometric and archaeological evidence leads to the remarkable conclusion that this bridge was functioning for about 2500 yr.

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