Metroon (Archives)

The Metroon served two functions; it was both a sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods and the archive building of the city, a repository of official records (Fig. 19). The present remains date to the mid-2nd century B.C. and overlie traces of earlier public buildings, including the Old Bouleuterion. The Hellenistic building had four rooms set side-by-side, united by a facade of fourteen Ionic columns. Except for a small stretch of steps at the south, all that remains are the reddish conglomerate foundations below the floor level of the building; the exact disposition of the records and the location of the statue of the Mother by the sculptor Agorakritos (cf. Fig. 20), seen by Pausanias, are unclear.

Figure 19. Cutaway view of the Metroon in the late 2nd century B.C.; the building housed both a cult of the Mother of the Gods and the State Archives.
Figure 20. A dedicatory relief of the Mother of the Gods, 4th century B.C.; one of several dozen copies found in the Agora.
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).