Stratos/Greece along with the Stratiké Project: capital of the western Greek tribe of Akarnanes. Work in the vicinity of the agora and theater
With Stratiké, the ancient territory of the of city-state of Stratos located in the western Greek mainland is demarcated. According to topographical borders, the expanse can be estimated at 230 square km, of which 80 square km are covered by lakes and riverbeds. The ancient city developed its city center at the location where one of Greece's most substantial rivers, the Acheloos, flows out of the highlands onto the plane.
The goal of the DAI is to open up the western region of the Greek mainland for archaeological exploration which until now has received little interest. The idea that this area was backward and provincial, only attaining a more sophisticated level of Greek culture for the first time in the 3rd century B.C., can no longer be sustained. The offer by the Antiquities Service of cooperating in the new excavations in the region of Stratos allows the DAI to supplement older, still unpublished work on this region by the Institute.
At the present time, the main focus of the work concerns the limited supplementary excavations in the area of the agora and concluding the cleaning of the theater. Of central interest is the cataloguing and publication of the 1990-1996 finds and excavation results (see also the Stratiké Research Project).
The first archaeological research was undertaken with the Ecole française d'Athène in 1892-1913 and in 1924 principally on the Temple of Zeus Strateios. In the following period, the Greek Antiquities Service carried out small and sporadic emergency excavations in the area of the city and necropolis. Shortly after the construction of a dam in the vicinity of the ancient city, funds became available in 1988 in order to unearth the ruins from the resettled village Sorovigle and to make the central area of the ancient site of Akarnania into an archaeological park. Also opened up in connection with this were the central market place (agora) with surrounding colonnades, the adjacent administration building (Bouleuterion), and the ancient theater that could seat approximately 10,000. Conservation efforts are severely impaired however due to bad building foundations, unstable building materials, and, rather unexpectedly, a continuing stream of settlements in the area so that finds may range from the Neolithic period to 1970. The city was at its peak in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.
Authorized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the excavation is being guided by the 6th Ephorates of Classical and Prehistoric Antiquities in Patras. The Greek Excavation Service approves the cooperation of foreign specialists and students of antiquity, architecture, geodesics and geophysics equipped with appropriate qualifications and as required. There is close contact with the collaborating survey project at Stratiké
F. Courby - Ch. Picard, Recherches archéologiques a Stratos d'Acarnanie, Paris 1924. - Brief yearly reports in Archaiologikon Deltion, Chronika (Athen). - First summary report in: Praktika tou A'synedriou archaiologias Peloponnesou kai Dytikes Ellados (Patras, in press).