Ancient hydraulic works

Stratos drainage

Use: Land Drainage
Construction era: Hellenistic
Types: Sewer Pipes
Operation era: Hellenistic
Location: Greece - Stratos theater
  • M. Diamanti and I.K.Kalavrouziotis, Water Resources of Aitolia and Akarnania, Greece, and their Contribution to the Development of the Society from Classical to Roman Times, 1st IWA International Symposium on WATER AND WASTEWATER TECHNOLOGIES IN ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS, edited by A. N. Angelakis and D. Koutsoyiannis, Greece, 551-559, 2006.

The ancient city of Stratos is built on the west bank of the river and is fortified with strong walls 7,500 m of total length, which enclose three hill ridges. The theatre is built in between the two hills to the east, next to the ancient agora (Schwandner, 2000/2001). The koilon is built by local green-brown sandstone, while the construction of the orchestra and of the first row of seats was made by limestone from the nearby quarries of Lepenou. The drainage of the rainwater is achieved by a semi-circular channel that follows the perimeter of the orchestra and is covered by turns with limestone slabs. A characteristic of the channel is that its west side ends at a “blind-spot”, carved in the soft natural rock bed, while its floor has a gradient declination to the east. At the east end of the semicircle the channel becomes subterranean and continuous North-Northwest under the stage building. In the north of the stage there is a very strong and well built retaining wall that also defines one of the city roads, one level down. The drainage from the theatre ends up at the base of the retaining wall and from there on to a larger draining channel, under the stone pavement of the road. The course of both the drainage and the road to the south is yet to be discovered by excavation, but it is most probable that it takes advantage of the declension of the hillside. What can be seen in the construction of the semi-circular drainage of the orchestra is the logic in which the ancient builders worked. Showing extreme skill and practicality they created a shaft with a gradient to the west side, in order to drain the rain water to just one and not both sides of the theatre. The erection of the sustaining wall and the thoroughness in the construction demonstrate the diligence of the builders in issues of drainage in connection to the stability of the whole structure.

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