Aristophron and the History of the Excavations
The first excavation for unearthing the Academy of Plato was led by the archaeology Panagiotis Kastriotis in the early 20th century (1908), without important results. In 1929 the architect Panagiotis Aristophron, a Greek of Egypt (Egyptiotis) and great admirer of Plato donated a large amount of his personal wealth to the archaeological research of the Academy and the expropriation of private property. His project included also the foundation of an international cultural centre, the so-called “Koinon of Academies and Universities”. The excavation work began by Aristophron in 1929 with the collaboration of the archaeologists of the Academy of Athens G. Oikonomou, G. Kourouniotis, I. Threpsiades and F. Stavropoulos, while the plans and the drawings were made by J. Travlos. The excavation research brought to light the Gymnasion, the square Peristyle, traces of the prehistoric settlement and parts of the wall (teixion). In 1940 the Second World War interrupted the field research, while Aristophron, the inspirer of the archaeological work in the Academy, passed away in 1944.
During 1955-1963 the systematic excavations were carried on by the Archaeological Society and the archaeologist F. Starvropoulos bringing to light the prehistoric settlement, the cemetery of the late geometric period (8th century BC.) the apsidal house dated to proto-Hellenic period and the so called Sacred House, as well as part of the peribolos. Since 1962 the area of the Academy belongs to the jurisdiction of the Third Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. In the following decades the excavation activity was limited and the attempts were focused on the extension of the excavation site and the exploration of the private lands for establishing an archaeological park. The most recent archaeological field research was carried out by the archaeologist E. Lygouri. The foundation of a digital Museum for Plato and an archaeological Museum of the city of Athens is included in the development plans of the area.