Plan, Olympia, Heroon (Sanctuary of a Hero)

Context: Olympia
Type: Heroon
Summary: Almost square building including a circular room; west of the Sanctuary of Zeus (Altis), just west of the Theokoleon (priests' house).
Date: ca. 450 BC

Entry hall: ca. 4.5 m deep; tholos diameter: ca. 8 m.

Region: Elis
Period: Classical


Nearly square building divided in 3 parts. On the west an entry hall with 4 columns between returning walls, on the east 2 rooms communicating with the entry hall, a circular one on the northeast and a rectangular one on the southeast.


The circular room (tholos) was a sanctuary to a Hero and contained an altar of earth and ashes coated in stucco. The half-meter thick orthostates which formed the circular room base may have carried the wooden framing for a lightweight wall. The square wall surrounding the tholos would have supported a pyramidal roof. The building may have been converted from a bath to a shrine.

Other Bibliography:

Mallwitz 1972, 266-269; Rossiter 1981, 334