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Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson

About me

My main field of research concerns Greek architecture, digital documentation and architectural reconstruction. I have a PhD in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from Stockholms University and since 2008 I have mainly been working with architectural remains in the Greece. I am a permanent member of The Kalaureia Research Program, working with the architecture and in Kyllene Harbour Project as a survey team leader. I have also worked with architectural documentation at Midea, Greece and as survey team leader at Castelporziano, Italy. In addition to my work with digital documentation using a total station, I have studied 3D-scaning at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece, Harvard University.

Research

My thesis Polygonal columns in Greek architecture studied the use of polygonal columns in Greek architecture from the Geometric to the Hellenistic period. The main purpose of the research was to study the development, distribution, design, function and use of polygonal columns in order to create a new understanding on how they fit in the development of Greek architecture. The study is based mainly on measurements documented during archaeological fieldwork or from excavation reports, and it addresses a critical gap in our current knowledge of Greek architecture since no comparative study focusing on this type of column has previously been conducted.

Polygonal or faceted columns have multi-sided shafts with flat sides of equal width. Many polygonal columns were used as status symbols, and so were placed in important monumental buildings. They were also used in combination with fluted columns and could be manufactured from expensive materials such as marble. Polygonal columns were probably cheaper to produce than their fluted counterparts, but expensive compared with the production of functional pillars and supports.

The decision to use polygonal rather than round or fluted columns was probably an intentional choice. Furthermore, the development of the polygonal column does not follow the same trajectory of design as that of shafts and capitals on round or fluted columns, and so this design should therefore be studied in its own right.

Polygonal columns were used throughout the ancient Greek world. Six groups can be identified on the basis of their shape and design, their functions, geography and chronology. Each group had its own local development in terms of style and use. First, octagonal columns with Doric octagonal capitals from the Peloponnese, the coastal islands and the southern Greek mainland in use from the Geometric to Classical period. Second, octagonal columns with Doric octagonal capitals from Hellenistic Epirus and southern Illyria. Third, Hellenistic octagonal columns with Doric octagonal capitals from other regions. Fourth, eight-sided faceted columns from Greece, Anatolia and the Tauric peninsula during the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. Fifth, Hellenistic 20- and 24-sided polygonal columns with Doric capitals in the Aegean islands and Anatolia. Sixth, polygonal columns with local capitals in Archaic Cyprus. In addition, there is evidence of the use of polygonal columns scattered around towns in the Mediterranean region. In most cases, their design and shape can be connected to one of the main regions mentioned above.

Polygonal columns follow the general development of manufacturing techniques in Greek architecture and were used in the same manner as fluted Doric columns. Polygonal shafts were used with Doric capitals in Doric buildings from the Archaic period, but they were never used with other polygonal architectural members. They were, however, sometimes used in combination with capitals from other architectural styles, but since Doric capitals were aesthetically easier to adapt to a polygonal shape, they were usually the preferred choice. Historically, it has been suggested that polygonal columns were a simple precursor to later more complex designs and/or a more economical alternative to fluted columns; these hypotheses are contradicted by the evidence presented in this study. Polygonal columns, with their aesthetically distinctive design, seem instead to be one of the many local variations that were used in Greek architecture.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • An octagonal votive column in Delphi

    2022. Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson.

    Conference

    Upon walking toward the entrance of the archaeological site in Delphi, one can today see three drums from an octagonal column of small dimensions. Even if the excavation circumstances of this column remain unpublished, the construction technique and the reconstruction of the column indicate that it has been an Archaic votive column. Polygonal columns are found in Greek architecture from the Geometric period and throughout the Archaic period, during the period when local architectural innovation and design where commonly used. During the 7th and early 6th century BC this developed into a local architectural style of Doric octagonal columns in the eastern Peloponnese, the costal islands and the southern Greek mainland. They were used in secular and religious buildings, as well as freestanding monuments. Most probably these towns made a manifestation of their own identity by using their own architectural style in the Panhellenic sanctuary of Delphi, as they had also done by constructing an Archaic treasury with octagonal columns in the Panhellenic sanctuary of Nemea.

    Read more about An octagonal votive column in Delphi
  • Poddius Castus - En podd om antiken. 28. Kolonner, stenar och annan arkitektur - med Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson

    2022. Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson.

    Other

    Under renässansen började en idealisk bild av den grekiska arkitekturen byggas upp. Detta utifrån studier av den romerske författaren Vitruvius. En bild av en strikt arkitektonisk “ordning” formades. Vi har den doriska, den joniska och den korintiska stilen med sina olika arkitektoniska element. Men reflekterar den bilden hur man egentligen valde att bygga?

    I dagens avsnitt gästas vi av Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson, postdoc vid institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur vid Stockholms universitet, som kommer ge oss en snabbkurs i vad grekisk arkitektur egentligen är.

    Den här historiepodden handlar om allt mellan Zeus och Hades: arkitektur, slag, sex, enskilda personer, religion och mytologi, mat, bajs, konst och mycket mer. En perfekt podd för dig som vill veta mer om Romarriket, antikens Grekland, Egypten och flera av de andra folk och kulturer som levde och verkade runt Medelhavet under den här perioden.

    Read more about Poddius Castus - En podd om antiken. 28. Kolonner, stenar och annan arkitektur - med Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson
  • The Queen’s choice or the son’s political propaganda: the introduction of the Pergamene style of architecture

    2022. Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson.

    Conference

    The inscription on the Sanctuary of Demeter in Pergamon states that it was dedicated by Queen Apollonis, spouse of king Attalus I and the mother of the two succeeding kings Eumenes II and Attalus II. Exactly when this building project was constructed and if it was really constructed by the queen, or her sons has long been discussed, but it was probably built slightly earlier than Eumenes II’s large construction program. It was a fitting building project to undertake as a queen, being both a sanctuary and to a female goddess. The construction of sanctuary introduces a new column shaft shape, the polygonal column. Polygonal columns quickly became fashionable and commonly used in Pergamon, both the town and the newly largely expanded kingdom. Even if the Queen’s constructions of the sanctuary still remains unfinished, the stoa and the propylon introduces this new architectural style of polygonal columns in Pergamon, which under Queen Apollonis son Eumenes II becomes part his grand project of creating the new royal architectural style used in the large expansions of the town to become a metropole befitting for his greatly expanded kingdom. The largely used polygonal columns in the Pergamene architectural style was therefore probably selected and introduced by a woman, the Queen Apollonis.

    Read more about The Queen’s choice or the son’s political propaganda: the introduction of the Pergamene style of architecture
  • Polygonal columns in Cyprus

    2021. Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson.

    Conference

    Archaic polygonal columns are found in Amanthus, Idalion, Kition, Marion and Palaepaphos, where the latter is the only site with numerous examples and the polygonal shape might even be more common than other column shapes. The inspiration for polygonal columns has been sought in Egyptian or Mycenaean architecture, but probably the Assyrian and Hittite use of polygonal columns down to the 7th century BC is a more likely source of inspiration. These columns mainly carries Leaf or Helmet capitals, where the former is inspired by Assyrian or Phoenician capitals, while the later might be a local invention. In the same period similarly shaped polygonal columns with Doric capitals appears in Greece, likely originating from the same inspiration or possibly secondary inspired from Cyprus. Simultaneously in both regions, the polygonal columns vanish around 500 BC, when the war with the Persians escalates. 

    A decorated column is not a necessary; a wooden pier would often suffice. Columns and decorated architecture in general, were most often used to express once wealth, status or identity, either within the own group or collectively towards other groups of people. The use of polygonal votive columns dedicated in the open air sanctuary in Palaepaphos seems therefore to be a local religious tradition similar to the Phoenician or Canaanite sanctuaries. The column from Kition also originates in a sanctuary, next to a Phoenician temple. It is therefore possible that the few polygonal columns found in other sites, mainly sanctuaries are also dedicated by either people for Palaepaphos or of a similar tradition, possibly Phoenicians. When polygonal columns disappear around 500 BC likely either the people left or the polygonal columns were for some reason too closely connected to the invading occupying power.

    Read more about Polygonal columns in Cyprus
  • The Kalaureia Excavation Project. A preliminary report of the work carried out in Area L between 2015 and 2018

    2021. Anton Bonnier (et al.). Opuscula 14, 27-54

    Article

    The report presents a summary and preliminary discussion on the workcarried out by the Swedish Institute at ancient Kalaureia between 2015 and2018 in Area L. The excavations were focused on this area with the hopes ofgaining a better understanding of the settlement which was situated southof the Sanctuary of Poseidon in antiquity. The excavations show that a largebuilding was constructed probably around the middle of the 4th centuryBC in the western part of Area L. The full outline and functional use ofthe building has not yet been fully established but the building seems tohave been in use in several subsequent phases. The excavated remains further suggest that dining activities were carried out in the southern part ofthe building. A stone laid feature (Feature 3) excavated immediately to theeast, together with charcoal deposits, also provide indications of cookingin the 3rd century BC at least. The feature was, however, covered by the2nd century BC when a new wall was constructed which seems to connectthe building with a broader structural complex to the south. During thisperiod parts of Area L seem to have been used for olive oil production,identifiable through archaeobotanical remains, multiple pithoi, and a pressinstallation excavated in the central part of Area L. In the Late Hellenisticto Early Roman phase (either in the 1st century BC or 1st century AD)much of the building complex was again covered by a new construction fill,raising the level of the building.

    Read more about The Kalaureia Excavation Project. A preliminary report of the work carried out in Area L between 2015 and 2018
  • Polygonal columns in Greek architecture

    2020. Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson.

    Thesis (Doc)

    This thesis studies the use of polygonal columns in Greek architecture from the Geometric to the Hellenistic period. The main purpose of the research is to study the development, distribution, design, function and use of polygonal columns in order to create a new understanding on how they fit in the development of Greek architecture. The study is based mainly on measurements documented during archeological fieldwork or from excavation reports, and it addresses a critical gap in our current knowledge of Greek architecture since no comparative study focusing on this type of column has previously been conducted.

    Polygonal or faceted columns have multi-sided shafts with flat sides of equal width. Many polygonal columns were used as status symbols, and so were placed in important monumental buildings. They were also used in combination with fluted columns and could be manufactured from expensive materials such as marble. Polygonal columns were probably cheaper to produce than their fluted counterparts, but expensive compared with the production of functional pillars and supports. The decision to use polygonal rather than round or fluted columns was probably an intentional choice. Furthermore, the development of the polygonal column does not follow the same trajectory of design as that of shafts and capitals on round or fluted columns, and so this design should therefore be studied in its own right.

    Polygonal columns were used throughout the ancient Greek world. Six groups can be identified on the basis of their shape and design, their functions, geography and chronology. Each group had its own local development in terms of style and use. First, octagonal columns with Doric octagonal capitals from the Peloponnese, the coastal islands and the southern Greek mainland in use from the Geometric to Classical period. Second, octagonal columns with Doric octagonal capitals from Hellenistic Epirus and southern Illyria. Third, Hellenistic octagonal columns with Doric octagonal capitals from other regions. Fourth, eight-sided faceted columns from Greece, Anatolia and the Tauric peninsula during the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. Fifth, Hellenistic 20- and 24-sided polygonal columns with Doric capitals in the Aegean islands and Anatolia. Sixth, polygonal columns with local capitals in Archaic Cyprus. In addition, there is evidence of the use of polygonal columns scattered around towns in the Mediterranean region. In most cases, their design and shape can be connected to one of the main regions mentioned above.

    Polygonal columns follow the general development of manufacturing techniques in Greek architecture and were used in the same manner as fluted Doric columns. Polygonal shafts were used with Doric capitals in Doric buildings from the Archaic period, but they were never used with other polygonal architectural members. They were, however, sometimes used in combination with capitals from other architectural styles, but since Doric capitals were aesthetically easier to adapt to a polygonal shape, they were usually the preferred choice. Historically, it has been suggested that polygonal columns were a simple precursor to later more complex designs and/or a more economical alternative to fluted columns; these hypotheses are contradicted by the evidence presented in this study. Polygonal columns, with their aesthetically distinctive design, seem instead to be one of the many local variations that were used in Greek architecture.

    Read more about Polygonal columns in Greek architecture

Show all publications by Therese Emanuelsson-Paulson at Stockholm University