A Bridge Over Grecian Waters (Brauron Site)

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An ancient bridge still stands over the Erasinos river that runs close by the sanctuary of Artemis in Brauron. Let’s take a closer look at it this week!

If you recall the geography of Greece, the city of Athens is located to the west of Brauron and this sanctuary. Therefore we can understand why a bridge crossing the river in this direction would be necessary! This route would be the most popular one for entering into the sanctuary.

The bridge is square in shape, both 30 feet wide and long. At the time it was discovered, it was the only 5th century BCE bridge found on the Greek mainland! Some older Mycenaean bridges are known of, as well.

This image shows the supports for the bridge well. It would not impede the flow of the river while remaining quite sturdy.
This image shows the supports for the bridge well. It would not impede the flow of the river while remaining quite sturdy.

What is particularly interesting about this bridge is that it demonstrates a new kind of construction. A series of walls were constructed in the water running parallel to the river, so the water could pass through relatively unobstructed. These walls supported horizontal stone slabs that made up the top of the bridge. this construction is so sturdy that it still stands happily in place today.

Being so close to the sea, this river did indeed flood. A notably large flood occurred sometime in the Hellenistic era, and caused the surrounding land to become much more marshy. The temple and its associated structures survived this event due to its slightly higher elevation. However some caked on mud on the stones of the building shows just how intense this flooding could be.

Next week we are going to examine the sacred spring, located just nearby the bridge. Thanks for reading!

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