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The Acropolis may be crumbling, depending who you ask

There were a lot of reports yesterday about instability in the Acropolis – the rock in Athens on which the Parthenon sits.

If you look at the Acropolis, you will see that around the edges, a lot of it is supported by ancient retaining walls – the top of the original hill was too rounded & not large enough for the quantity of buildings constructed there. As a result, the site has been heavily analysed, to check for any chance of deterioration of these walls & the rubble piled behind them.

Greece has now issued their own press release, refuting the alarmist tone taken by many of the original articles.

The Parthenon [1]

The Parthenon

IB Times [2]

Greece: ‘Crumbling’ Ancient Acropolis in Athens Puts Parthenon at Risk of Collapse
By Lydia Smith
02 October 2014

The Acropolis is falling down and will need significant work to shore it up, archaeologists have warned.

Engineers have found that a section of the huge flat-topped rock on which the ancient Parthenon sits in Athens is beginning to give way, the Greek news agency ANA has said.

The ancient citadel located on a high rocky outcrop above the Greek capital contains the remnants of some of the world’s most historic ancient buildings, the most famous being the temple Parthenon.

Teams from the Central Archaeological Council found “instability over quite a wide area” after investigating a rockfall in January in which a boulder of “considerable size” tumbled from the most visited tourist site in Greece.

Work to secure the southern slope of the hill on which the 2,500-year-old temple complex sits will be necessary and archaeologists have blamed rainwater pipes from the old Acropolis museum.

There is evidence that the Acropolis was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, but it was Pericles in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings: the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.

Construction on the Parthenon began in 447BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power.

Despite sharp cuts elsewhere, the restoration work on the site that has been going on since the 1970s has remained sacrosanct.

Greece has endured six years in a recession, with unemployment soaring to 27%. For the first time since 2008 it is expected to see growth of around 0.4% this year, The Times reported.

The Acropolis is not the only ancient world monument under threat of collapse. Activists have claimed the Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest pyramid in Egypt in the ancient burial ground of Saqqara, is being destroyed by the firm hired to restore it.

According to the Non-stop Robberies movement, the company hired by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities to restore the pyramid – called Shurbagy – has broken preservation laws requiring that any new construction be less than 5% of the preserved structure.

In March, further collapses in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii were reported amid calls for more restoration funding for the UNESCO world heritage site.

Kathimerini (English Edition) [3]

Friday October 3, 2014
Acropolis not crumbling, Greece responds to reports

Greece has played down reports at home and abroad about the Acropolis being threatened by rockfalls.

One article went as far as to claim “Greece’s Acropolis will soon be gone.”

However, a letter sent by Constantinos Kissas, the deputy director of the First Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, to the Times in London said that reports of widespread damage were wide of the mark.

He said a rock with a diameter of 60 centimeters had come unstuck from the southwestern slope of the Acropolis, on which the Parthenon is perched, during heavy rain last winter.

As a result, the ephorate has organized a technical study to ascertain whether any work needs to be carried out to prevent further such incidents.