The Palace - The archaeological investigation

The archaeological research at the site of the Palace of Ancient Pella began in 1957 and was conducted in four excavation periods (1957-1963, 1981-1982, 1987-1991, 1994-2001).

The excavation of the Palaistra or Building V, located in the northeastern part of the ancient Palace of Pella, began in 1987 under the direction of the archaeologist P. Chrysostomou and continued until 2001 without completion. The northern part, including the swimming pool were covered temporarily to protect the architectural remains, floors and mortar.

In 2021, within the project “Conservation and enhancement of the Palaistra and the swimming pool of the Ancient Palace of Pella” carried out by NSRF 2014-2020 “Central Macedonia Program’’, further investigation was conducted in the area of the Palaistra and in the eastward adjacent building known as the Hypostyle Hall, where an entrance to the swimming pool area (Area 1) was revealed. It is an entrance, 2.30 meters wide with pilasters and a central pillar. It also had a paved floor which, in a later phase, was plastered with mortar. Decorated tiles of the 4th century BCE were uncovered on the floor, and sherds of a plain dinos at the northwest corner of the entrance. This entrance was destroyed, and its material was reused for the construction of a wall with a northwest-northeast orientation, into which two monolithic columns, each 2 meters high, were incorporated. It is highly likely that this entrance, at least in its initial phase, was used exclusively by the king.

A poorly preserved construction was located inside the courtyard (Area 2), 20m from the south portico (stoa) and 9.20m from the east one. It seems that its original plan was a rectangular ‘enclosure’ measuring 3.20 x 3.40 meters, constructed from stones of various sizes. Inside this enclosure, there is a structure probably related to water supply, as two of the stones found in their original place bear circular, wide holes.

The possibility of enhancing the xystus to the west of the Palaistra was also explored. However, further research did not yield conclusive evidence supporting the identification of these architectural remains as an ancient xystus. Instead, they seemed to be connected to an underground tunnel leading southwards to Building II.

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