Ancient Corinth, Greece

Crossroads of the Mediterranean



CyArk scanning ancient colonnades of Corinth by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

In collaboration with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, CyArk documented the mythical Peirene Fountain and the Temple of Apollo in the city of Ancient Corinth, Greece. Survey of the extant structures  was conducted primarily with LiDAR and both terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry. The surviving frescoes within the Peirene Fountain were surveyed with an Artec scanner, which measures the 3D shape of a surface using pulsating light and a camera system. CyArk’s digital documentation of the temple and fountain provided the ASCSA with accurate and precise data on the current state of preservation for both architectural complexes. In particular, it was important to record Peirene which is currently closed to the public due to concerns surrounding its preservation.  This work was made possible through the generous support of the Macricostas Family Foundation.

Aerial view of the ruins of Ancient Corinth by American School of Classical Studies at AthensCyArk

Introducing Ancient Corinth

A port city located at the narrow neck that joins the Peloponnese to mainland Greece, Ancient Corinth controlled important trade routes. Ancient Corinth was actually inhabited since the Neolithic period, from the 7th Millennium BCE onward. The city grew significantly in the Archaic period, during which the Temple of Apollo was established. It eventually became one of the largest cities in classical times, and continued to be inhabited through the Roman and Byzantine periods. The ruins today show numerous Greek, Roman, and Byzantine architectural features. At the heart of Ancient Corinth was the Fountain of Peirene, a mythical freshwater spring which was the primary water source for the city. Located nearby on a high terrace, the Temple of Apollo loomed over the city view with its monolithic columns standing tall against time.

CyArk scanning the fountain of Peirene in Corinth by CyArkCyArk

Fountain of Peirene

According to Ancient Greek geographer Pausanias (c.110-180 CE), after one of her children was killed by Artemis, the nymph Peirene was struck by a grief so profound that she turned into tears and became a spring. Hence the grotto that was turned into a fountain, located in the center of Ancient Corinth, was known as Peirene. But the myths surrounding the ancient fountain do not end here. Bellerophon, the famous ancient hero who defeated the Chimera, was said to have been born in Corinth. Bellerophon tamed Pegasus after Pegasus drank from the waters of Peirene. In celebration of its legendary origins and importance, the fountain was continuously elaborated through time. The most prominent architectural features at the site today are the later Roman modifications of the 3rd century CE. It was during this time when the fountain was decorated with vibrant frescoes depicting ocean creatures like fish, shrimp, and lobsters. These frescoes have only survived at the very heart of the fountain within the grotto.

Fresco at Peirene FountainCyArk

Temple of Apollo, Corinth by CyArkCyArk

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the generous support of the following partners:

Hellenic Ministry of Culture
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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