Ancient sources (Strab. 9.1.22
; Steph. Byz. s.v. Ἁλαὶ Ἀραφηνίδες καὶ Ἁλαὶ Αἰξωνίδες
), make it clear that this
deme was situated on the E coast, N of Brauron, S of
Marathon, and presumably near the township whose
name it shares, Araphen, modern Raphina. It was famous for a sanctuary dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos.
According to Euripides (IT
1447-61), this cult, with a
statue of the goddess taken from Taurus, was established
by Orestes at Athena's command, and included among
its rites a ceremonial act of atonement in which a drop
of blood was drawn from a man's throat with a knife,
and a midnight revel (Men. Epit
Nineteenth c. topographers realized that this deme had
to lie between Vraona and Raphina in the neighborhood
of the salt lake, now at Loutsa, and the ruined village
and hill of Velanideza, ca. 3 km to the W. The name
suited the former; from the latter had come the two
archaic grave reliefs of Lyseas and Aristion. In this
century, however, attention has focussed on Loutsa. In
1926 a deme decree of the inhabitants of Halai was
found SW of the salt lake, near the sea, in the remains
of a Roman building. It was to be set up in the Sanctuary
of Artemis Tauropolos. A second deme decree, found a
few years later to the S of Loutsa, was to be displayed
there also. Finally, in 1956, the remains of a small temple were uncovered in the same vicinity, S of the salt
lake among the pines that fringe the sea.
The material of the temple is hard, gray poros. All of
the bottom step is preserved, and most of the second,
but of the stylobate there are only a few blocks in place,
enough however to allow measurement of the temple
area at this level: 19.30 x 12.20 m. Above this, nothing
is in situ, but a peristyle of Doric columns, a few poros
fragments of which have been found, can be restored on
the stylobate. From the evidence on this course, it would
seem that the temple had the unusual design of eight
columns on the short sides, twelve on the long. Within
the columns was a cella divided into two unequal rooms,
the inner to the W presumably an adyton, but of all this
only foundations survive, the temple having been thoroughly pillaged. Thus its date cannot be ascertained.
Pottery and figurines of the archaic and Classical periods were recovered around it. The original excavator
identified this seaside temple as that of Artemis Tauropolos. The suggestion is most persuasive, for the position exactly suits the evidence bearing on the temple's location.
Artemis was not the only divinity worshiped at Halai.
A recently discovered inscription, found half a km W
of her temple, records the holding of games during the
Dionysia celebrated in the deme. One can therefore
assume that a sanctuary once existed dedicated to
Dionysos, perhaps among the extensive remains of ancient buildings where the inscription was discovered.
Philochoros' enigmatic (and defective) fragment concerning Dionysos (FGrHist
328 F 191) may yet be
shown to apply to Halai Araphenides.
A. Milchhöfer, Karten von Attika. Erläuternder Text
3-6 (1889) 6-7; A. Conze, Die attischen
(1893) I, nos. 1-2, 3-5; N. Kotzias, Δημοτικὸν ψήφισμα Ἁλῶν τῶν Ρ̓αφηνίδων
168-77; Ph. Stauropoullos, Τιμητικὸν ψήφισμα Ἁλῶν τῶν Ἀραφηνίδων
(1932) Ἀρχαιολογικὰ χρονικά
, 30-32; J. Papadimitriou, Ἀνασκαφαὶ ἐν Βραυρῶνι
(1956) 87-89; (1957) 45-47PI