The literature on the Acropolis seems to me as untidy as the site itself. Every discovery that could, on the present evidence, be made about its history, every truth that could be pertinently stated has already appeared, I should imagine, in one or other of the books or articles devoted to it since the Greek excavations of the eighties. I am merely attempting the humble but, I think, necessary task of sifting out what seem to me the more interesting discoveries, the more significant conclusions. Before we form any more theories, we must try to discover what under present circumstances we can reasonably know.
In this paper I shall have space only to consider the history of the main buildings, one or perhaps two large temples and perhaps a large propylon, up to the Persian destruction of the archaic Acropolis in 480 and 479. The minor buildings of poros, with triglyphs barely 1 foot or 15 inches wide, and walls or columns consequently less than 15 feet high, will interest me only incidentally. I have found no clear evidence for the sites of any of these, not even Wiegand's ‘Building B’, considered by J. A. Bundgaard (pp. 55 ff.) to be the precursor of the north-west wing in the Periclean Propylaea. Moreover I can isolate the problem of the large buildings more conveniently and with a clearer conscience, because it has already been isolated by C. J. Herington in his stimulating book, Athena Parthenos and Athena Polias (Manchester, 1955). His thesis is an interesting one, that from far back in the archaic period two important temples stood on the Acropolis. The more southerly, dedicated to Athena the Warrior Maiden (Parthenos), occupied a site somewhere within the limits of the present Parthenon. The more northerly and the more important in state ritual was dedicated to Athena as the City Goddess, and occupied the site between the present Parthenon and Erechtheum, generally known as the ‘Doerpfeld Foundation’. Every visitor to Athens will know this series of old broken walls just south of the Caryatid Porch. Wiegand's is still, I think, the most workmanlike plan of it (Wiegand, figs. 72 and 117—my Fig. 1). Herington's thesis, then, enables me to arrange my questions as follows. How many successive temples occupied the Doerpfeld Foundation, what did they look like and how were they related to one another? And again, was there any important temple on the site of the present Parthenon before the decade 490–480, generally considered the date when a marble Parthenon was first attempted ? Because of its possible scale, I shall also have to consider the date and form of the archaic Propylon. If it were a large building, it could be the source of various large fragments hitherto assigned to temples; and Heberdey, the latest American books, and now Bundgaard all make it rather large, between 15 and 20 metres square. (For the actual dimensions they give, see below, pp. 146 ff.)