The building is represented in three phases: the Classical, the Hellenistic and the Roman. The first phase is that of its construction. There are several views concerning the interior of the Tholos, whether, that is, it comprised couches or seats for the prytaneis, who were lodged there. There is also a suggestion positing an internal short bench. Only the existence and the arrangement of the columns is certain, for their bases have been unearthed in their place. The building’s design did not pose any difficulties, save for the roofing. The exterior wall has been represented as solid and completely unadorned, with a door on its east side. There is a second door to the north. 

The building’s diameter is known due to the lower layer of slabs which is preserved in situ and in a rather good condition. It total height, though, is uncertain: we have followed the representations of the excavators. In the same way, we have tentatively represented the opening and the height of the door. We have adopted the view of the excavators positing a door with an opening of 2.3m. The roof is the most problematic element in the building’s digital reconstruction. We have represented the roof tiles of the first phase decorated with antefixes, some of which have been discovered, and preserve traces of paint. In the arrangement of the roof tiles we employed a pattern with a triangular stroter between two rhomboid tiles on the lower part of the layer. According to the excavators, the upper part of the roof was covered with metal, which means that, at an unknown height, there must have been windows to let the sunshine in [Thompson, H.A., The Tholos of Athens and its Predecessors (Hesperia Supplement 4, Princeton 1940). Travlos, J., Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens (Princeton 1971), pp. 553-561]. According to another view, the roofing consisted in a pattern of rhomboid tiles of various sizes with an opening (lantern) on the top. [Miller, S.G., ‘Circular Roofing Systems and the Athenian Tholos’, Πρακτικά ΧΙΙ Συνεδρίου Κλασικής Αρχαιολογίας, Αθήνα, 4-10 Σεπτεμβρίου 1983 (Αθήνα 1988), Volume Δ΄, pp. 134-139, plates 45-48]. This option, with the concurrence of R. Anderson, the excavation’s architect, was rejected. A pointed roof was represented, in accordance to what is mentioned in the literary sources (Hesychios, see the ‘Tholos’ entry).
It should be noted that the excavators were undecided as to the preferable solution, for their general publications contain both versions [Mc Camp II, J., The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations, Excavations of the Athenian Agora, Picture Book no 16, American School of Classical Studies (Princeton 2003), p. 13 and The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press (New Haven – London 2001), pp. 69-71 respectively]. Correspondingly, in the area of the Agora there are scale models for both solutions.
During the Hellenistic period the roof was rebuilt using only metal, while the taeniae coursing the walls at a height of 1m was removed. For the kitchen we have digitally reconstructed the first and third phases (Ι and ΙΙΙ according to the terminology used by the excavators). In the Roman period we cannot observe any alterations, save for the kitchen (phase ΙV) and the west addition [Burden, J.Ch., Athens Remade in the Age of Augustus: A Study of the Architects and Craftsmen at Work, Dissertation, University of California (Berkeley 1998), pp. 153-162]. For the roofing system of the kitchen, it has been suggested that it comprised a lean-to roof, as is warranted by its size.

Tholos, 3D representation, Classical period

Tholos, 3D representation, Hellenistic period

The project "Virtual Reality Digital Collection 'The Ancient Agora of Athens'" has been co-funded in a percentage of 80% by the European Regional Development Fund and in a percentage of 20% by state funds in the framework of the Operational Programme "Information Society" of the 3rd Community Support Framework.

HellasEuropean UnionInfosoc newInfosoc