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ABSTRACT. The remains of a wooden construction, recovered in the 1970s at the northwest sector of the walls of the
ancient city of Amphipolis (northern Greece), have been recognized as foundation remains of a wooden bridge described by
Thucydides in his description of the events that took place at Amphipolis in 424–422 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. Frequent
repairs in the Roman, Byzantine, and even Ottoman periods are very probable. In the last 10 yr, conservation has been
done to enhance this unique monument. This work involves systematic investigation with radiocarbon dating of all the verified
or suspected phases of this wooden bridge. The dating results reveal the beginning of construction most probably in the
Archaic period and confirm beyond a doubt that the major construction phase took place in Classical times. Successive
phases, related to repairs rather than to major reconstructions, have been detected during the Hellenistic, Roman, Early Christian,
and Byzantine periods as well as the Ottoman era. The combined archaeometric and archaeological evidence leads to the
remarkable conclusion that this bridge was functioning for about 2500 yr.
Amphipolis: General Historical Context
Amphipolis is located on the mouth of the Strymon River in eastern Macedonia, northern Greece
(Figures 1 and 2). The ancient city was situated on the southwest foothills of Pangaeon Mountain.
This mountain played a major role in the development of Amphipolis, providing timber from its
dense forests and gold and silver from its mines. The Strymon River, surrounding the city to the
north, west, and south, kept open the city’s communications with the lower Strymon Valley, rich in
agricultural products. The Strymonikos Gulf, comprising the southern border of the Amphipolis
area, provided easy commercial and cultural access to the Greek cities of the Aegean Sea (Lazaridis
1972). In antiquity, the estuary of the Strymon River was located more to the east, in the area of the
ancient Eion, the port of Amphipolis (Figure 1).