University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Structural assessment of ancient building components
Georg Herdt, Aykut Erkal, Dina D’Ayala, Mark Wilson Jones

Last modified: 2012-02-01


The pediment of the temple of Artemis at Corfu is one of the very earliest remains of monumental Greek temple construction. As indicated by the style of the sculptures of the pediment, the pseudo-dipteros has to be dated towards the beginning of the 6 century BC. This temple, the “first and mightiest example of the developing stone-architecture”, according to Gottfried Gruben, has suffered extensively since antiquity, leaving us with only a highly fragmented image of the monument. Excavated by Gerhardt Rodenwaldt in the beginning of the 20th century and reconstructed by Hans Schleif the temple is documented in two volumes. Little subsequent work has been done, so our understanding of the temple remains reliant on these two volumes. The reconstruction has been questioned, though only minor aspects have been successfully resolved. This paper interrogates the plausibility of the pediment sculptures in their position as proposed by Hans Schleif. Structural analysis shows that a different position for these pivotal sculptures has to be found on the temple, otherwise it cannot be structurally viable. This triggers a revised reading of the architectural reconstruction which calls into question the whole plan. In fact, the supposed pseudo-dipteral temple plan has to be reconsidered; after all, this scheme for temples was invented, according to Vitruvius, by Hermogenes during the 2nd century BC.


Ancient Greece, structural analysis, finite elements, Corfu