Architectural ancient tricks

The houses in ancient Greece had more or less the same problems as our houses today. Heat and cold is the biggest problem. Let us see what the ancient Greeks wisely did and we don't bother to copy...

The walls were usually made with mud and stones. Since cement was not available, they were using hair of goats and eggs mixed with the mud to improve its strength. The north side was thicker and with the least openings. The entrance was usually in the south side.

On the north side of the house they usually planted some evergreen trees like olive trees that would block the cold north wind blowing directly on the house. On the south side of the house they used some deciduous trees. This way in the summer time they had useful shade, and in the winter there were no leaves to block the wanted sun to warm the house.

But they didn't stop here! They used over the south doors and windows, an extension cover it with a carefully designed size. The size of this extension was arranged in a way so that in the summer the sun couldn't fall directly into the house. In the winter that the sun has a lower orbit, therefore this extension would not be a problem and the house was heated by the sun!

Another clever solution was the use of pergola with specially arranged length and height. This way they could achieve almost the same results, plus they had a lot of tasty grapes to enjoy! :-)

And of course as you can see even today, every Greek traditional house is painted white! This helps also to avoid too much heating from the sun. This simple and cheap technique helps every building to reduce the added heat from the sun but very few people seem to care... We prefer to spend money and energy for the modern air-conditioning systems. This helps our room for a while but every air conditioner makes our earth environment a little hotter. So this way the problem is moved a few meters away from us, but is not solved...


The first known circulation for water and drainage for an entire city is found at Knossos (Crete - Greece). The water was transferred in fictile pipes from far enough, from far distances, such as the areas of Kounavon and Arhanon to the water supply reservoir of the city. From there it was allocated to the houses. The houses were made of wood, stone and marble. Some of them were triplex buildings and a few even built in five levels!
At Knossos we also found the first use of the siphon for the waste drainage pipe. At this period of time Knossos was calculated to have almost 100.000 citizens. On a wall painting we can see a white authoritative with dark 'mercenaries', that seems to show the power of Knossos to the ancient world.


And now if we took a look at what the architecture could do for the many people, lets see what could be done for the few chosen!
entrance to Atrea's treasure If we go to Mycenae (south Greece) we can see the famous Atreas' treasure still standing there for almost 3500 years. It is a circular dome structure from a civilization that lasted since 1600 to 1200 B.C. This dome structure was used as a grave. It has a diameter of 14.6 meters and height of 13.4 meters. It was made from carefully cut stones and no other material was used to connect them. They kept their place because of gravity and the pressure of the soil of the hill above them. The difficulty of doing this made it very rare. At the entrance of the dome over the door there is a very big elaborated boulder that weighs 122.000 Kg. Over this stone there is a big triangle empty of material to prevent it from collapsing from the extra weight! The knowledge required for such design and building is not common even today. At least we have to respect the mind of the architects that design and made such a building 3500 years ago.

Sometimes we hear the wrong stance about the arch, the arcade, the span and the dome, that these are roman inventions. This can be considered almost right if we look only above the surface of the earth, and of the history! Greeks were using such structures without problems at least since the Mycenaean period, but ONLY for structures under the surface of the earth. These buildings were for graves or dedicated to stop Gods etc.
The Romans used these plans on the surface and used them a lot. The dimensions of the Atreas treasure (from Mycenae) was surpassed by a similar circular building at the famous Pantheon of Rome made by Apollodoros from Damaskus, 1350 years later...!

A Roman invention seems to be the elevator that helped empire Nero to go up and down to his 40 meters high palace!


At the period of its glory the Byzantine empire was burning crude oil at public bathrooms for heating water. Septimius Sevirus made these public bathrooms and the crude oil was carried on animals from the coasts of Kaspian Sea.
Maybe crude oil was a material from the famous 'liquid fire' that Byzantine army was using.


Are any pyramids in Greece?
And if they are, what can they mean for the Greek prehistory?
These subjects were placed with intense way in the past few year from repeated publications of many magazine and acquired a scientific covering, after the statement (February 1995) of the Academic Pericles Theochari with title “Chronology of two Greek pyramid buildings from sculptured rocks via the method of thermoluminescence”.

In the fall 1995 was circulated the book “Pyramids in Greece”of Christou D. Lazoy, member of D.S. of Company of Study of Ancient Greek Technology ([EMAET]) but not a scientist. In this book he is assembled from the known material for the Greek “pyramids”.
In September 1995 the archaelogists El. Spathari, X. Piteros and G. Pikoylas made statements on the “pyramids of” Argolida, in the congress on Peloponnese, that organized in Nauplium the Institution Of Peloponnisian Studies. Finally, in recent copies of magazine “Archeology”, that publishes Anna Lampraki was published two relative works. The one of Antiquities Cyclades Adamantios Sampson, that made small archaeological research in the “pyramid” Greek, collaborating with the team of research of Academy. The second (answer in Sampson) the archaelogist Giorgos Pikoyla, which made and published an important research for the ancient road networks in Argolida.

With these informations, we come back in our first question: Are any pyramids in Greece?

Tower Of Limnikoy (Argolida)
The first report that we have is from ancient and its particularly reliable source. Paysanias in his work of “Greece tour”, that wrote in the means of 2nd a.c. century, describes the hellenic cities, the deliveries and their monuments with the glance of sightseer of Romanic season. Writing for Argolida the 150 a.c. he marks also the following: “In the right while someone goes from Argos to Epidayria there is a building that looks like a pyramid and has portrayed embossed shields of form of Argolic shields. Proitos had fought against Akrisioy for kingdom, and they say that the fight was finished tie and for this later was reconciled, after neither the nor the other could achieve a decisive victory. They say that then first time colided armed with shields and themself and their troop. For those who, from both sides, died, and because they were fellow-citizens and relatives, was a built a common grave.” (Corinthian 25,7. Translation Nikolaos Papachatzi, “Editorial Athens”)
This building was identified initially with a pyramid manufacture near Lygoyrio. X. Lazos, based on the topographic reports of Paysania, points out in his book that the “pyramid of” Paysania should be placed little outside from Argos, near the current village Dalamanara.
Whatever happens, there is not any trace of “pyramid” in Dalamanara while in Lygoyrio is rescued the base of pyramidic manufacture.
A similar manufacture, that is maintained in its initial height, exists up to today in the village Greek, outside Argos and in the direction of ancient street to Arkadia. In this region Paysanias reports tomb monuments.

Newer publications report also other ancient buildings that are characterized as “pyramids”, like:
In Kynoyria (Tsakonia), that is to say in the coastal region of Arkadia. French sightseer Mpomple writes that he saw a pyramid in 1828. A second pyramid in the same region announced in the congress of Nauplium that was seen by archaelogist G. Pikoylas, without however any reports of its particular place.
In Sikyona. A copper engraving of “pyramid” of John Fene was published in 1877 in the English magazine “The Graphic” (volume “Greece 1842-1885, historical, quadrants, and artistic documents in the main English periodically”, publications A. NIKOLAS 1984). This building has not been found.
In Kampia of Nea Epidaurus. X. Lazos writes in his book that it was found a pyramid this region by schoolteacher Ioannis Bibis.
In Biglafia of Lakonia. It is reported by the English sightseer Lik. Almost near finds itself a old mycean city. It is surrounded by ditch.
In Thebes. The archaelogist Theodoros Spyropoylos says that he excavated a graduated pyramid (zigkoyrat) in the hill of Amfeioy.
Apart from the above reports, they have seen the light of publicity various oddity: for pyramid in one of the tops of Taygetos, for an other carved pyramid in Crete and for tens other pyramids, the place of which is not reported.
From all them it appears that only the buildings in Elliniko and in Lygoyrio are the only that resemble with pyramids. For this reason it became in them excavations in prewar times from the American archaelogist Lornt.
However, in no case we can speak for pyramids. In the better case we have two truncated pyramids, that is to say buildings of which their sides have a bent but that they don't meet in a conceivable top.

Therefore everything that is written for pyramids in Greece and particularly the interpretations that are given isn't true.

However the two pyramidic buildings in Elliniko and in Lygoyrio are mysterious.
We do not know neither when neither why they were manufactured. Their age can determine their initial use and reverse.
If we believe Paysania, whose every information is not disputed but constitutes also a type of Gospel of archaelogists, then the pyramids building of Argolida, that reports, is tomb monument and was built in the mycean season, that is to say between 1600 and in 1100 b.c.
But, let's see the opinions of scientists that dealt with the two mysterious pyramid buildings of Argolida, like X. Lazos summarizes them in his book.
Arbanitopoylos dates them in the mycean season and it supports that they are cenotaphs.
Tsoyntas and Manat place them in the Archaic season (6th b.c. century) and claim that they are fryktories, that is installations of transmission of messages with fire and smoke. The same opinion for the use have also Koyrtioys, Donaltson.
Lik, Ros, Fiser, Clark, Frakia and Lornt date them in the beginning of hellenistic season, that is in the dues the 4th b.c. century. Lik, Ros, Fiser and Klark say that they are tomb monuments and Lornt, Frakia and Goyigkant that they are outposts, that is to say provincial fortresses.

The archaelogists of responsible D' of Inland Revenue, El. Spathari and X. Piteros and the archaelogist G. Pikoylas claim in their recent statements in the congress of Nauplium, that were built in the hellenistic season and that they were outposts.
However their probative material for the use of monuments is not persuasive. They claimed, as an example, that their sides have pyramidic bents in order to face better the blows of besieging rams. But such type besiegers, that would strike furiously the fat walls, would not be smart because for the conquest of outpost was enough the simple violation of the door. They included the construction of these buildings, in a government owned defensive program for the protection of Argos. If it is thus, then why the built only two or three pyramidic outposts and why they admit the existence of similar buildings except from the territory of Argos, in Kynoyria and in Lakonia?
In the fall of 1995 the academician (engineer in the profession) Pericles Theocharis, which announced that his inquiring team dated (with the method of optical thermoluminescence) the “pyramid” in Elliniko in the year of 2720 b.c., with margin of error (+ -) 580 years from proposed and the “pyramid of” Lygoyrioy in 2100 eg, with margin of error (+ -) 600 years. Later it announced that their use was for astronomical observatories.

The “pyramid of” Greek is not 2700 (as announced Mr P. Theocharis) but it must be newer than (roughly) 2100 b.c And this happens because the archaeological excavation, that became in the frame of research of Academy, found a First-Hellenic cesspool in the foundations of building. The First Hellenic period finishes conventionally in roughly 2100 b.c. Also nowhere was found nor a ceramic shell of two next cultural periods, Middle Hellenic and After Hellenic - mycean season. If it has built the 2nd bc millennium, then the lack of the ceramic will constitute unique phenomenon.
The ephor that period of Cyclades Adamantios Sampson, that was the person in charge of archaeological part of research of Academy, in the article that was published in the magazine “Archeology”, without rejects the mycean origin of the pyramid of Elliniko, he dates it after the classic season, that is to say after the 5th b.c. century.
After all these the mystery remains.
Various irresponsible and antiscientific publications support that the “Greek pyramids” are ancienter than Egyptian, that their existence proves a ancient high culture in Greece and that the Egyptian pyramids finally were built by Greeks.
From the other side the Archaeological Service reacts intensely, as it appearred also from the behavior of archaelogists in the congress of Nauplium. It is rather scientific rivalry and dogmatism. I do not believe that it is possessed by the fear, if an ancientest than the prevailing date of pyramidic buildings shows likely colonization of Argolida from Egyptians. The relative with the past Argos fable of Danaidon already has given handhold in the supporters of theory of “Black Athina”, that is to say origin of Greeks and their culture from Egypt and the Middle East.

Only a systematic excavation of all pyramidic buildings ( they are sure in Elliniko and Lygoyrio) will resolve all the questions.
But let's maintain the mystery. Why?
Because between the discoveries of prewar excavation of Lornt in the “pyramid of” Ligoyrioy,there is also a neolithic stoned axe, age that is to say before 3000 b.c. Lornt dates the pyramid in the 4th b.c. century.
Skranton, that studied the ceramics, claims that the neolithic axe “simply, it can be transported from somewhere far as something strange”.
But how can the axe maintain “somewhere far” for 2.500 at least years, be transported as “something strange” round 300 b.c in the pyramid of Lygoyrioy and re-maintained in his new place for other 2.300 years?


Toilet In the Cape of Thera

In the Cape of Thera was excavated an impressive maintained city of the Coper Season (1.500 b.c.). Because of the ashes of the volcano that covered the ruins of settlement, were saved almost untouched the two-storied and three-floored buildings of this rich city, the residents of which enjoyed many from the comforts of the current season between them and the toilets.
In the effigy is portrayed the south-western corner which called "Western Residence", a rather formal house of the centre of city. In the upper floor, where there are the spaces of residence, there is a toilet isolated from the remainder house. In cavity of the exterior wall have been built two stone brenches, between them there is void that corresponds in orifice of driver. The driver, that is composed from horyzonfal earthen pipes, leads in a opening of wall to the exterior side of the house. By this opening the waste were poured in shaft, which is connected with the central network of settlement.
In the shaft were found plates placed in order to isolate the manhole from the house - they are like an "smell trap".
In the effigy there are also many of house structural details of that season: the way of manufacture of floor, elaborate wood construction of the windows, that functioned as elements of building, carved frames of windows with intensely colour of volcanic rocks, etc. Finally, like every houses of settlement, thus and Western Residence has astonishing murals that here they cover even the window.

Scaffold of Pre-Parthenon

The scaffold has the aim to show the techniques of treatment and lifting of marble volumes of Parthenon. In the worksite that appears front from the temple was the final treatment of vertebras, capitals and generally all structural elements, that would compose the building which would be built in 490 b.c.
For the placement of processed marble departments that would constitute the Parthenon was judged necessary the manufacture of scaffold for the support of cranes, pulleys and ropes, which would lift the marbles, placing them in their places. Also, for the transfer of enormous marble volumes were used special corridors and inclined planes.

Andrianeio aqueduct, tank

The model shows the reservoir to which led the water that brought the aqueduct that was manufactured by the Roman emperor Adrianos at the 2nd century. a.c. The reservoir that is portrayed exists in western of the Lykavitos and was manufactured in the Place of ancient reservoir 1876.
The representation of the four pillar propylo was based on the drawings of I. Stuart and N. Revett that show it in the means 18th century. Part of the pillar is maintained in its Place with bases the two corresponding pillars, while the one of the two inscribed parts of entablature are maintained in the National garden.

back to main menu

technology,ancient technology,ancient technology,ancient technology,ancient technology,ancient technology,ancient technology,ancient - about Greece and Greek hotels - about Greek products