0.99 m. wide. Moreover the steps are steep and narrow—not such as
we should expect where crowds were to ascend and descend. On the
east side a parodos about 5 m. wide has been partly cleared, and on
the other side will no doubt be found its counterpart. With ampleparo-
doi on both sides of the skene, no reason is obvious for constructing a
third access only 0.99 m. wide. In many theatres entrances are found
from the level of the orchestra to the stage-building, and here, doubt-
less we have something of the same kind, only the passage lies under
the surface owing to the elevated structure of the stage-building. Two
solutions were open to the architect: the one a permanent stairway over
the front wall, the other an opening through the wall and an under-
ground passage; the latter solution was chosen perhaps because a
stairway from the height of the front wall would necessarily project
far into the orchestra.
The front wall consists in fact of two walls, the retaining-wall H H
and the facing-wall GO. The retaining-wall, not intended to be seen,
is built of rough poros blocks of about the same dimensions as those in
the foundations of the skene. Its present height is 2.39 m., or 2.335 m.
above the level of the circle of the orchestra. That it was originally
higher appears from the fact that a great number of similar blocks were
found lying in a line along the wall. It may have been as high as the
bases, or, being merely a retaining-wall, it could have ended when it
reached the surface of the ground. The roughness of the work is suffici-
ent proof that this wall was never visible. There still remain in places
as many as three courses of a facing-wall. The lowest course, which
juts out 0.19 m. beyond the upper courses, is 0.64 m. high, and where
the vaulted passage begins, the blocks are turned in at right angles in
such a way that the blocks of the second course of the vault overlap them
by one half. This shows that the two were constructed at the same time.
The blocks of this course, too, are of the same size as those in the three
lower courses of the vaulted passage. At the joints and along the upper
edge are bevelled drafts. While the upper courses continue 0.59 m.
beyond the retaining-wall and then at GG make a turn to the south at
a slight angle, the lower course turns to the north (A I and Kl) 8.885 m.
from the vault and is then merged in other walls (IM and IN), which,
at the same distance, make a similar turn toward the south. The second
course of GG is of a finer poros, and is worked with extreme care. The
joints are made with such exactness that they are not easily perceived.
The course is 0.43 m. high and the blocks are as long as 2.42 m. and 2.62