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Columns from unfinished temple. Attica, Thorikos.

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View behind theater. Attica, Thorikos.

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Approach to theater from outside and rear. Attica, Thorikos.

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Column capital from unfinished temple. Attica, Thorikos.

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Attica, Thorikos.

Cavea from W, Thorikos

Summary: Main city in the Laurion mining district, and one of the original 12 Attic deme sites.
Type: Fortified city
Region: Attica



Early Bronze Age

Middle Bronze Age

Late Bronze Age

Dark Age






Thorikos lies on the E Attic coast ca. 10 km N of Sounion. The town extended from the Haghios Nikalaos promontory (between 2 bays) inland and up the slopes of the Velatouri hill, which served as the acropolis.

The town was fortified by a wall and at least 7 gateways at ca. 412 B.C. to protection the Laurion mining district and the coastal sea lanes. Below the acropolis, on the S slope, an industrial quarter included establishments for the processing of metal ore. Lower on the S slope is the ca. 5th century B.C. theater with an unusual oval orchestra. West of the theater stood a temple of Dionysos. Much of the rest of the S slope was taken up by domestic buildings.


Occupation on the site of Thorikos began in the Neolithic period. Prehistoric and Mycenaean settlements were centered on the Velatouri hill and tombs of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age are found on the lower slopes of the hill, beneath the Classical levels. Traditionally, Thorikos was one of the 12 independent cities of Attica unified by Theseus.

Although fortified late in the Peloponnesian War, Thorikos did not seem to play an important role in Attic history. The site was abandoned early in the Roman period and not reoccupied.


The Society of Dilettanti excavated the Temple of Demeter and Kore in 1817 and the American School excavated the theater in 1886. In the 1890's Stais excavated Mycenaean remains on the acropolis. Since 1960 the Belgian Mission, directed by H. Mussche has conducted systematic research and excavations.

Sources Used:

Leekley and Noyes 1976, 26-27; PECS, 915-16; Rossiter 1977, 203-204

Other Bibliography:

Society of Dilettanti, Unedited antiquities of Athens (1817) 61ff (on Temple of Demeter and Kore). American School, Papers of the American School 4 (1885-86) 1ff (on theater). Stais, ArchDelt (1890) 159ff; Prakt (1893) 12ff; ArchEph (1895) 221ff (on Bronze Age remains). H.F. Mussche, Thorikos, A Guide to the Excavations (1974 Brussels: Comité des Fouilles belges en Grèce) Excavation series: Thorikos (Vol. 1, 1968 onwards). H.F. Mussche (ed), Thorikos and the Laurion in Archaic and Classical Times, Colloquy March 1973. Miscellanea Graeca I. (1974 Ghent). H.F. Mussche, "La forteresse maritime de Thorikos," BCH 85 (1961) 176-205. H.F. Mussche et al., "Thorikos 1963," AntCl 34 (1965) 5-46. R. Ginouves, "Comptes Rendus," AntCl 37 (1968) 777-79. C.A. van Rooy, "Fortifications in South Attica and the Date of Thorikos," Acta Classica 12 (1969) 171-80. O.A. Dilke, "Details and Chronology of Greek Theatre Caveas," BSA 45 (1950) 25-28. Reports in: ArchDelt 19 (1964) Chr.1, 80ff; 20 (1965) Chr.1, 128ff; 21 (1966) Chr.1, 108ff; 22 (1967) Chr.1, 137ff; 25 (1970) Chr.1, 133ff.