Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics


Ancient Athens was preeminent because of her naval power, and with the navy’s might came the prestige of her harbor city the Piraeus, where naval bases housed hundreds of triremes. The architectural glories of the Acropolis stood in second place to her naval bases, and as an unnamed Athenian author proclaimed, “O Athens, queen of all cities! How fair your naval base! How fair your Parthenon! How fair your Piraeus!”

In his lecture, The Ancient Athenian Naval Bases in the Piraeus – The Backbone of the World’s First Democracy, Professor Bjørn Lovén will explore how the ten-year Zea Harbor Project, digging on land and underwater from 2002 to 2012, uncovered extensive archaeological remains of the Athenian naval facilities. The lecture will show how the archaeological finds inform us about developments from the dawn of Athenian power in the late 6th and early 5th centuries BC, to the young democracy at the time of the Persian Wars, to the age of empire when Athens ruled the eastern Mediterranean, and to the waning years of the 4th century BC when Athens stood in the shadow of Macedonia.

Professor Bjørn Lovén is a Research Associate with the Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen, and is an expert in the archaeology of ancient harbors and submerged sites; he is the Director of the Zea Harbor Project at ancient Piraeus in Greece, Co-Director of the Lechaion Harbor Project in Corinth, Greece, and has done extensive fieldwork at underwater and harbor sites around the Mediterranean.
The Zea Harbor Project is a collaboration between the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Ephorate of West Attica, Piraeus and Islands (both under the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports), the Saxo Institute, the University of Copenhagen, and the Danish Institute at Athens under the Danish Ministry of Education; it is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.

The lecture will take place at Blegen Building Room 308, on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. It will begin at 6:00 PM, and is free and open to the public. It is part of the Archaeological Institute of America’s National Lecture Program, and funding for it has been provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York, which strives to support the work of scholars in the fields of ancient art.

A full size pdf version of the announcement poster can be downloaded here.