Coin of Olynthus
The Book

Text of Household and City Organization at Olynthus

Table of Contents
The Database (coming soon)

Database of Houses, Rooms, and Objects at Olynthus, linked to Site Plan
Help with the database: Coin of Olynthus

Olynthus: Database of Houses, Rooms, Artifacts, and Graves


This database contains lists and information about the houses, rooms and artifacts excavated at Olynthus by David M. Robinson between 1928 and 1938. The information is based on the published volumes (Olynthus 1-14), and unpublished fieldbooks and other notes.

Records for published objects have been updated as far as possible to correct errors which were introduced between excavation and publication, and to add information such as more precise findspots which were only recorded in the fieldbooks. See the account in Chapter 2 of Household and City Organization at Olynthus.

Please note that the descriptions in the database are short summaries, not full descriptions of each individual object. Since most of the artifacts were published, full descriptions may be found in the Olynthus series.

Tables and Fields

The database contains five main tables, or lists of a single kind of data: Houses, Rooms, Objects, Installations, and Graves.


In general, entries in the Houses table are the familiar 17 x 17 m dwellings in the grid-planned part of the city. Most of these are labelled according to a standard system, described in A Brief Tour of the City.

Many objects were found outside these grid-planned houses, however, in graves, streets, trial trenches and the like. To maintain consistency in the database, the Houses table has records for these findspots as well. On the South Hill and other areas where it is difficult to distinguish one living unit from another, or where the findspot was not recorded house by house but only trench by trench (as in the 1928 excavations), I have simply given the general trench or section (Tr. 1 - 13, Sec. A - T). Some objects were found in street: where known I have given the street intersections (Ave. A at St. v, for instance) or the house fronting the street (Ave. A at A iv 9, for instance).

Fields in the Houses Table:

HouseThe name of the house.
TypeFor most houses, this is simply "house." But for findspots other than houses which have been included in the table for consistency, this marks the record as something other than a house. Such contexts include Street, Alley, Public [building], Grave, Cemetery, Apotheke (the pits in the South Hill), N. Hill Tr. (trench on the North Hill); S. Hill, S. Hill Tr. (trench on the South Hill); Surface; and Trial Trench.
BlockThe block in which the house is located.
NotesGeneral notes about the house.


Rooms are generally the individual rooms of a house. If the room is unknown, it is marked as "-".

Fields in the Rooms Table:

HouseThe house in which the room is located.
RoomThe room (a, b, c, etc.)
FB RoomFieldbook Room. Often rooms were given one designation during excavation, and then relabelled later when the results were published. Objects were sometimes mistakenly published as coming from the original designation of the room (the FB Room), not the final designation. These mistakes have been corrected as much as possible.
Room TypeType of room. See the list here.
FloorTreatment of floor. See the list here.
WallsTreatment of walls. See the list here.
NotesGeneral notes on the architecture, contents, etc. of the room.
Use EvidenceEvidence for the use of the room.
RefsReferences, usually to the fieldbook where the excavation of the room was recorded.
LLength of room, usually measured perpendicular to the axis of its major door. Some of these lengths are taken from real measurements, either published or in the fieldbooks. If real measurements were not recorded, I had to measure from the scale drawings. These measurements will naturally be less accurate. Unfortunately I did not keep track of which were scaled and which were properly measured.
WWidth of room, usually measured parallel to its major door.
Door WWidth of door.
DepthAverage depth of burial of the room, if this is available.
IntactWhether the complete dimensions of the room were preserved and excavated.
ProvenienceProvenience is simply house + room, to give each room and object a unique findspot.


Objects are portable artifacts such as pots, coins and the like.

Fields in the Object Table:

FindspotThe house, grave or other findspot. If the findspot is unknown, it is given as "-". This relates to the Houses table.
RoomRoom where the object was found. If the room is unknown or unspecified, it is given as "-".
SquareIn some years and trenches, the 1 x 1 meter square in which each object was found was recorded in the fieldbook, usually as a letter-number combination (a1, b3, etc.). These are only recorded in sketch plans in the fieldbooks. I have not had time as yet (April 2002) to digitize all these plans and put them into the GIS.
In other instances, the 1 x 1 meter square was not recorded, but some more specific note about the findspot was noted: which corner of the room it was found in, or notes about what other objects it was found with.
For objects found in graves, Square records the position in the grave where the object was found (head, foot, hand, etc.).
Depth Depths were usually recorded as depths below surface. It is not clear what datum point the excavator was using, or even whether a single datum point served for the whole house, or whether depths were measured room by room using different datum points for each room. Occasionally recorded as the depth below the top of a nearby wall, or as "floor level," "pit" or other such notation.
Object Simple description of the type of object: coin, kantharos, fibula, hydria, etc. Some 1,024 different types of objects were distinguished at Olynthus. See the alphabetical list and list by function of names of objects.
Names have been regularized: vases, for instance, conform as much as possible to the typology of Agora 12.
Material Abbreviation of the material (see abbreviations here)
DescriptionVery brief description of the object. For coins, this includes the mint and coin type (see list here)
CatalogCatalog number in the final publications, abbreviated as the Olynthus volume in lower-case Roman numerals, plus the catalog number within that volume (example: v.123 = Olynthus volume 5, catalog #123).
InventoryYearly inventory number, e.g. 28.C.123 = 1928, coins, inventory number 123. Most of the Olynthus volumes have concordances between catalog and inventory number.
FB ReferenceRunning number in the fieldbook.
FB PageFieldbook page
HHeight in meters. Fuller dimensions for most artifacts are published in the final reports; use these where possible.
WWidth or length, whichever is appropriate, in meters
DiamDiameter in meters. In the case of lead and bronze weights, I have used the Diameter field to record the weight in grams.
QuantitySome objects are best treated as a single group, for instance loomweights. Rather than create separate records for each object, I created a single record and recorded the quantity of this type of artifact. When the publication or fieldbook records a specific number of objects, the quantity is in the "Numeric Quantity" field. Sometimes the fieldbook records simply "many" or "a few" instead of absolute numbers. In these cases, the quantity is recorded in the "Text Quantity" field.
DateFor coins and other clearly datable objects: see here.


Installations are immovable features of rooms: hearths, benches, foundations and other architectural features, and pithoi, altars, mortars, presses, and such non-architectural features which are not easily moved from place to place. These can be viewed as part of the room listing.

Fields in the Installations Table:

Provenience Provenience (=House + Room)
Type Type of installation. See the list here.
Material Material, if applicable
Descr Description
L Length, if applicable, in meters.
W Width, if applicable, in meters.
Diam Diameter, if applicable, in meters.
Depth Depth, if applicable, in meters.
Refs References, usually to the fieldbooks.


Some 634 graves were excavated at Olynthus, producing enormous numbers of finds. These are published in Olynthus 11: Necrolynthia. Most were inhumations, most commonly covered with rooftiles, others in stone or wooden coffins.

Fields in the Graves Table:

Grave The grave number in Olynthus 11: Necrolynthia
FBgrave The grave number in the excavation fielbooks. Like Rooms, these were often different from the final, published grave number.
Cemetery Cemetery in which the grave is located. See list here.
Gravetype Type of burial. See list here.
Age Age of deceased, if known. See list here.
Sex Sex of deceased, if known.
Begin date Approximate date range.
End date ""
Fbpage Page in the fieldbook where excavation is recorded.
Comments Comments.
Orientation According to cardinal directions.
L Length in meters.
W Width in meters.