It is well known that Athens is a key case study concerning ancient Greek urbanism and society. Indeed, it is widely accepted that the data available on important features of the ancient settlement (fortification systems, the archaic and classical agora and so on) are exceptional and of high heuristic value. On the other hand, what is not sufficiently apparent in current scholarship is a general tendency to associate in straightforward patterns, not always based on hard evidence, textual indicia (i.e. the so called evenemential history) and material culture (i.e. cultural, social and spatial arrangements). What is more, recent but important excavations both in the city of Athens and the region of Attica, on occasion of large-scale public building activities (metro, railways, airports among others) remain unpublished and, therefore, badly known. In this kind of context, the Topography of Athens project conducted by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens (2010-2016) is a welcome exception: spanning from the sub Mycenaean period to Late Antiquity it offers a useful synthesis on the general questions concerning Athenian topography. This notwithstanding, unfolding the different topographies of Athens by integrating archaeological, epigraphical and historical data in coherent meaningful interpretations remains a monumental task that has yet to be undertaken.
Our idea of an international network has greatly profited from and been positively tested during the 1st Workshop “Rethinking Athens. Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Polis before the Persian Wars” held at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich on the 23rd and 24th of February 2017. Within that forum, both senior (Alain Duplouy, François de Polignac, Anna Maria D’Onofrio and Elisavet Sioumpara) and junior academic researchers were given an opportunity to cut across scientific, institutional and national boundaries (French, German Italian university readers along with researchers of the Greek Ministry of Culture).