Delos: Restoring the Stoa of Philip III: the necessary preparatory work and the long and arduous course towards an outcome which is expected to justify our efforts


Restoring an edifice of major value and significance for both ancient and contemporary Greece is a long and arduous process, but the outcome vindicates those who carry it out and support it because it remains as a cultural legacy for all, Greeks and others, and for all subsequent generations.

The first, preliminary phase in the restoration of the Stoa of Philip III on Delos, which is expected to take 3 years, is to record and identify the architectural elements that will be used as well as those that won’t. The building measures 74m x 16m, and was originally erected in the late 3rd-early 2nd c. BC. Ms Dimitra Mavrokordatou, head architect of the project undertaken by the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities, shares her thoughts with the same careful approach she applies to other such projects of great archaeological and cultural significance. She was also involved in Carthaea, where she and a worthy team of archaeologists and restorers won the prestigious award Europa Nostra 2017.

“We have carried out a first cataloguing of the architectural fragment and a clearing of the monument which was literally sank amidst the vegetation. The fragments have been numbered and classified depending on whether they are to be used in the monument or displayed separately. However, these lists will be reviewed again on a second evaluation. The preliminary work includes an area of some 600 sq. m. by the sea to the west of the monument, which will be fully cleared, lined with concrete  and used for the architectural elements which will not be used in the restoration.

A telescopic crane will be on the site for about two weeks for the necessary shifts and relocations: the unwanted pieces will be taken out of the stoa and others will be brought closer to be used in the subsequent reconstruction.

The experience of Carthaea taught us the necessity of filming all stages of the operations; it is the most eloquent documentation of my work, while edited footage from this material shot by camera and drone will serve as an excellent ‘guided tour’ of a project that will be carried out over three years.

The in-situ indexing of the fragments identified 30 ancient stones from the  stylobate, while our initial estimate was that there were just two! This means that we shall have more ancient material to use in the restoration. Moreover, in this project we will carry out a 3D rendering so that we can build the necessary additions on a CNC machine and create them with precision, at the same time reducing the in-situ workload. With the best possibly preparation we shall be able to implement with precision everything we design. The transportation and moving stage will be completed in early November. Next we will do the designs for the platforms and the stage of 3D renderings. In the spring we shall return on site to carry out what was prepared in the winter. That’s the plan…”.

It is this plan that we follow and support, with faith in the work of those who have undertaken it and in the outstanding resources of the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities.