Preferred Citation: Munn, Mark H. The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C. Berekeley:  University of California Press,  1993.

Three The Dema Tower

The Secondary Structures

Throughout the excavated area, fragments of internally combed beehive kalathoi were found, both body and base fragments, described under catalog no. 20, as well as one fragmentary but complete beehive lid, no. 18, a fragment of a second lid, no. 19, and a fragment of a basin, no. 17, a vessel that might also have been used as a beehive. Beehive kalathoi were probably laid horizontally in stacks, either enclosed in a frame of some sort or built into a wall, to provide them with shade and insulation.[16] Given the prevalence of beehive fragments on the site, it is certain that at least one purpose of the secondary structures was to house stands of beehives.

The hills around the Dema today still abound in wild thyme, eminently suitable grazing for honeybees, and before the arrival of heavy industry and the city dump, this area was noted for beekeeping.[17] It

[16] See "Vail House" 402-3, 410, 412, 443, 445, and 448 note 246, with plates 79b, c, d, 80a, and 85. Cf. Columella De Re Rustics 9.7.2-6, quoted by Crane and Graham 1985, 38-39.

[17] See Rossiter 1981, 187: "The uninhabited valley between the Aigaleos ridge and the foothills of Parnes is dotted with beehives." This must have been written in the 1960s, for by 1977 beehives were no longer in evidence in the area, which was dominated by the city dump. See also Gell 1819, 25, on the route from the Rheitoi northward toward the Dema, where Gell remarks at what is now known as the Thriasian Lager: "Proceeding up the little valley, see I. on the top of the hill a circular inclosure [sic ] of stone, called Giaverdeli. It is only an enclosure for bees." By the brevity of these remarks, it seems that Cell did not inspect the enclosure himself, and the last comment sounds like the explanation of a local guide, who knew that the spot was deserted except for the beehives that were kept there. The Lager was evidently used as an apiary in antiquity as well, for beehive kalathoi have been found there; see McCredie 1966, 70, on "umbrella stands" (i.e., beehive kalathoi) from the site. At least nine ancient beehive sherds from the Thriasian Lager are in the collection of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, site A-74.


must have been so in antiquity as well. The suitability of the area and the availability of building material on the site of the abandoned and at least partially collapsed Dema tower evidently prompted some beekeeper to bring his hives to this spot to construct shelters for them.[18] The solid rubble base of the tower provided a wall to build against and a break against the strong north wind. Stones were on hand for wall building, available either from the base itself or perhaps from the enclosure wall nearby.[19] Tile fragments in abundance were available to fill the irregularities in the bedrock, as well as mud brick, which might also have been used as packing around the hives as they were stacked. Very likely, enough sizable tile fragments could be salvaged to form a crude roof over the hives.

The remains of the secondary structures are too scant to show if they might have had any function other than sheltering beehives. Given the suitability of the site for this purpose, it is quite likely that beekeeping was the only reason for the reoccupation of the Dema tower site. When we consult the finds, it is noteworthy that there are no fragments of vessels associated with food preparation—for example, cooking vessels, mortars, large lekanai—which suggests that this was not primarily a habitation site. We might speculate that the several drinking cups, small bowls, water pitchers, and juglet were the accumulated discards from the daytime visits of the beekeeper. The amphoras may have been stor-

[18] To judge by the number of beehive fragments that can be found at remote sites in Attica, it would seem that this sort of reuse of abandoned sites was fairly common. I have seen beehive fragments at the Aigaleos tower and on the summit of Beletsi. McCredie 1966, notes fragments of beehive kalathoi ("umbrella stands") at Kynosoura (46 no. 5), at Helioupolis (48), at Yerovouno (62), and at the Thriasian Lager (70). Vanderpool et al. publish an example from Koroni (1962, no. 46). Varoucha-Christodoulopoulou 1953-54, 335 figure 6, provides examples from Koroni and Helioupolis. In the collection of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, there are also beehive fragments from Kastraki (A-20), the Hymettos tower (A-34), and Patroklos Island (A-59). The occurrence of beehive fragments at the sites of so many temporary military encampments has prompted speculation that these might have been used as water containers; see "Vail House" 402 and notes 44, 45. This is possible, though it is hard to believe that a used beehive would be a very desirable container for drinking water. It seems more likely that most, if not all, of these beehive fragments represent the reuse of abandoned sites as apiaries, as is evident in the case of the Dema tower.

[19] It is noteworthy that, while both faces of the enclosure wall can be traced every-where else, for 14 meters where the wall comes closest to the secondary structures, its remains are scant and neither face can be traced (see above, under Tower Enclosure, and map 4). It is possible that here, where the wall lay close at hand, it was used as a quarry for building material for the secondary structures.


age vessels kept on the site, but it seems likely that they too were used as makeshift beehives.[20]

As to the date of this secondary activity, it has already been noted that the finds associated with this phase can be dated to the second half of the fourth century. The better-preserved specimens, nos. 3, 5, and 6, in fact find their closest parallels in examples dated by Agora XII and Corinth VII.iii to the third quarter of the fourth century. It is now recognized that some of these examples regarded as characteristic of the third quarter were in use as late as the end of the fourth century, but none of them, and therefore none of the specimens from the Dema tower, needs to be dated later than ca. 300.[21] The water pitcher no. 12 may be the latest artifact of this group. It is a Hellenistic type, the earliest appearance of which is not clearly established, though it seems to become common within the last third of the fourth century. Considering that this specimen may make a date close to midcentury unlikely, we can, with reasonable probability, place the secondary activity on the tower site somewhere within the period ca. 340-300.

[20] Many fragments could be attributed to each of the three amphoras identified (nos. 14-16), but none of these fragments came from higher than the shoulder—no neck fragments, no rims, and only two small handle fragments were found. This pattern indicates that the tops of these amphoras had probably been removed before they were discarded on this site. The most obvious explanation is that these several amphora bodies were reused as beehives. The fact that all fragments of no. 14 were found resting atop the beehive lid no. 18 reinforces this conclusion. Regular kalathos lids could have been tied to such makeshift beehives, though makeshift lids of wickerwork or wood could also have been used; examples of such lids in modern use are cited in "Vari House" 445, 448 note 246.

[21] Several recent studies by Susan Rotroff have demonstrated the consequences for early Hellenistic Athenian pottery chronology of new evidence, i.e., the finds from Koroni, the revision of the chronology of stamped Rhodian amphora handles, and refinements in Athenian numismatic chronology. Revised dates for the deposits of Athenian Hellenistic pottery published by Thompson (1934) are presented by Rotroff in Agora XXII, 107-10, and in Thompson et al. 1987, 6; reappraisals of several other late-fourth-century and Hellenistic deposits are contained in Rotroff 1983, Rotroff 1984, and Thompson et al. 1987, 183-97. The closest parallels for the most diagnostic pieces from the Dema tower, nos. 3, 5, and 6, come from Agora deposits F11:2, F16:1, and O18:2. Rotroff 1984, 344-46, now places the deposition of F11:2 in 294 B.C. ; Rotroff 1983, 263, places the deposition of both F16: l and O18:2 close to 300 B.C. (cf. Thompson et al. 1987, 184-85). In all three cases, the deposits contain pottery spanning the second half of the fourth century, and nos. 3, 5, and 6 are best paralleled by shapes that are not among the most developed, or latest, forms of vessels from these deposits. The implication that the Dema tower pottery is thus to be dated not later than ca. 300 B.C. is further borne out by the comparison of the Dema specimens with the later forms of those vessels found in deposits closed well within the first quarter of the third century, e.g., Thompson's group A (1934, 313-30; see Agora XXII, 107-8, and Thompson et al. 1987, 6), and Menon's Cistern, published by Miller 1974 and now dated by Rotroff (1983, 262, and 1984, 346-47) to ca. 286 B.C. The appropriate comparisons are cited in the catalog entries.


Three The Dema Tower

Preferred Citation: Munn, Mark H. The Defense of Attica: The Dema Wall and the Boiotian War of 378-375 B.C. Berekeley:  University of California Press,  1993.