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Hydraulic Characteristics of the Drainage Systems of Ancient Hellenic Theatres: Case Study of the Theatre of Dionysus and Its Implications

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The content of this article provides interesting history, facts, and information about the drainage systems of ancient theaters in mainland Greece and Asia Minor from prehistoric times until the Hellenistic period. This study comprises representative examples of drainage systems in theaters at Knossos, Phaistos, Dionysus in Athens, Arcadian Orchomenos, Ephesus, and Delos. Moreover, the aim is to demonstrate that these drainage systems represent evolutionary techniques and principles that can still be used today to avoid wasting water resources. Moreover, these techniques may prove attractive for the development of sustainable strategies to counter mounting problems, especially those of a socioeconomic nature. In addition, the article presents evidence for the conception that adaptations to individual environmental and hydraulic characteristics of specific locations were considered in relation to drainage systems of ancient theaters. Thus, through a case study of the carrying capacity of drainage channels at Dionysus's theater in Athens, the sustainable nature of this construction is demonstrated, including its capacity for the management of stormwater.
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... In stone theatres, drainage was an integral feature of the structure, while in wooden buildings, as in the Dionysus theatre in Athens, it was added later. Representative examples of drainage in the ancient theatres at Knossos and Phaistos in Minoan Crete, Dionysus in Athens, Arcadian in Orchomenos, Ephesus in Turkey and in Delos Island, including their hydraulic features, are provided by [37]. Rainwater harvesting and reuse was a common feature in ancient theatres to sustainably manage stormwater, and in some cases it is still operational today ( Figure 5a). ...
... Rainwater harvesting and reuse was a common feature in ancient theatres to sustainably manage stormwater, and in some cases it is still operational today ( Figure 5a). Collected water was stored in cisterns, such as the arched cistern ( Figure 5b) discovered in Delos Island [38], or was distributed to supply nearby workshops, as in the Dionysus theatre of Athens [37]. These practices are also being reintroduced in current times, even though in less imposing circumstances [36]. ...
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... Cisterns were used to capture runoff from buildings, the Theather cistern is a good example of this water recovery technique (Klingborg & Finné 2018). A large cistern located in the South-West of the theater 3 received waters collected from the stands and from a thalweg situated in the South-East (Chamonard 1896, Brunet et al. 2003, Desruelles & Cosandey 2005, Desruelles 2007, Brunet 2012, Mays et al. 2013, Kollyropoulos et al. 2015 (6 & 7 in Fig. 2 (École Française d'Athènes 2018)). ...
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... The main parts of an ancient theatre [11]. ...
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... visited by the research team at various times. 32 Antoniou, 2015, 6. 33 Kollyropoulos, 2015, 6. 35 De Feo, 2014Kollyropoulos, 2015, 1. tions right in front of the stage building in 1982, most of the proskenion was uncovered and many architectural pieces, as well as some statue parts were discovered. 36 A detailed examination of the stage building reveals the craftsmanship and material quality that belongs to different periods. ...
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