Location: East of the SE Stoa, West of the Panathenaic Way.
Periods of Use: Classical, Hellenistic


The building of the Mint is situated east of the Southeast Stoa and due west of the Panathenaic Way. The north end of the building lies today under the church of Agion Apostolon (SS. Apostles), the Nymphaeum and the Southeast Temple. It was excavated in 1952 and in 1953 by Crosby. H. Thompson in 1959, as well as Mc Camp in 1978 carried out less extensive investigations. 

Apparently there does not seem to have been a precursor building to the Mint. The Mint was founded directly on the bedrock, at least most of its parts. Although the original floor does not survive in its entirety, it appears that it was not homogeneous: its NW edge lay approximately 3.35m lower than that of the SE corner. The exact depths mentioned are the following: an elevation of 67.82 above sea level in the  SW, 68.80 in the north section of the central room, and 69.00m in the SE room.

This was a large, quadrilateral, almost square building, measuring 27.20m from north to south and 28.90m from east to west. The area between the Panathenaic Way and the East edge of the building became encased in an irregularly shaped defensive wall.
The internal layout of the building cannot be reconstructed with certainty, except for its southern end. The building consists of roofed rooms and a spacious yard, of an N-NE direction, under which passed the Great Duct of the Agora. In the SW, the largest room measures 14 E-W Χ 11m N-S.  In the middle of the room there are two bases of limestone which obviously supported columns. There are also two successive rooms in the east, which are intersected by the south wall. The first one measures 5 E-W Χ 3.9m N-S while the second one 4.20 E-W Χ 3.90m N-S. 

The building’s walls survive in a very poor state, for it appears that its building material was used in later constructions, following the building’s destruction. Only the lower layer of the foundation’s slabs survive in a good state; these are of limestone (measuring 1.20-1.30 in length, 0.60-0.65 in width and 0.48 in height). Acropolis limestone has been employed only in the east side of the west room. In the north and south area nothing remains of the building save a few slabs from its outer walls. It appears that the entrance of the yard lay west, where two slabs survive exactly next to the western wall. It is unclear whether there was in the yard there was an inner colonnade roofing a stoa. 

The pottery unearthed in the foundations of the buildings allows the dating of its construction to approximately 410-400 BC.  As testified by the finds though, the building was used mainly in the 3rd and the 2nd centuries BC. 


The building remained in use during the Hellenistic period, without any obvious signs of alterations. During this period, more specifically in the 3rd cent., there was a phiale-shaped cistern in the NE corner of the yard. On the contrary, there is a wealth of finds from inside the building, and these suggest that the main period of minting activity dates to this era, and more specifically to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, when in the spacious SW room various pits are being dug out, in which large clay basins are placed. The latest dated sections of the floor date to the late 2nd cent. BC. Other workshops were later set up in the area, as indicated by the discovery of the combustible fuel refuse from the operation of kilns. The building was probably destroyed in the 1st cent. BC or the 1st cent. AD, and soon after it was covered by the Southeast Temple and the Nymphaeum. 

The area just outside the building, along the west and north wall, is traversed by a large and carefully constructed clay pipe, and behind the building, or more accurately in the ground under the building’s yard, passed the east branch of the Great Duct of the Agora. 

The building’s uses

Its identification as the Mint was based on the discovery of numerous coins and unminted metal discs (πετάλων) in the southwest room, as well as by the existence of characteristic facilities (bronze smelting furnaces, water basins, scoria) and was confirmed by the final publication of the building in 2001.  We should note, however, that the evidence at our disposal do not allow us to suppose that apart from bronze, the city’s silver coins were also minted there, and this is the reason why the building’s earlier name, given to it by American excavators (Silver mint), has been changed to the more ‘neutral’ “Mint”. This was not the initial use of the building. It functioned as a mint during the 3rd and  2nd centuries. It is possible that various other bronze artefacts were also manufactured there to provide for the needs of the Athenian state (standards, weights, court tablets, oil lamps etc.). 


KROLL, J.H., The Greek Coins, The American Excavations in the Athenian Agora, vol. XXVI, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Princeton, 1993, pp. 292-295.
Mc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora: A Guide to the Excavation and Museum, 4th ed., Athens 1990, pp. 162-163.
Μc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations, Excavations of the Athenian Agora, Picture Book no 16, Anerican School of Classical Studies, Princeton 2003, p. 23.
Mc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora: Excavations in the Heart of the Classical City², Cambridge University Press 2001, pp. 161-166. 
MC CAMP II, J., KROLL, J.H., “The Agora Mint and Athenian Bronze Coinage”, Hesperia 70 (2001), pp. 127-162.
THOMPSON, H.A., “Excavations in the Athenian Agora: 1952”, Hesperia 22 (1953), p. 29.
THOMPSON, H.A., “Excavations in the Athenian Agora: 1953”, Hesperia 23 (1954), pp. 31-67, tables 12-17 (esp. pp. 45-48).
THOMPSON, H.A., “Activities in the Athenian Agora: 1959”, Hesperia 29 (1960), pp. 327-368, tables 73-80 (esp. pp. 343-344).

Mint, Representation in VR environment

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.

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