Located in the region of Attica, the city of Athens lay along the base of the Akropolis and to the north of the Pireaus harbor. The Agora was the commercial and civic heart of the city. It included public and private infrastructure, civic monuments, industrial and craft centers, residential districts, and funerary remains.

​Archaeologists have uncovered a significant Bronze Age presence on and around, the Akropolis, while the 9th century BCE saw new and diverse activity in what would become the Agora. By the 6th century, the space increasingly took on an important civic and cultural role. During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries CE, the city center experienced repeated invasions and destruction, before it was abandoned in the 6th century.

With complex and disturbed stratigraphy thanks to dense occupation over thousands of years, the Agora still preserves extraordinary religious material. This includes temples, small shrines, altars, divine images, and saucer-pyres. The items examined for this study date from the 9th century BCE to the 4th century CE.

The American School of Classical Studies began excavating the Athenian Agora in 1931.

Plan of Athens in the 2nd c. CE, courtesy of Agora Excavations.

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