The temple usually identified as the Hephaisteion (also known as the Theseion since the labours of Theseus are depicted on its sculpted metopes) stands on the Kolonos Agoraios overlooking the ancient marketplace of Athens, where since 1931 excavations have been carried out by the American School of Classical Studies.1 This peripteral temple of the Doric order, constructed out of Pentelic marble in the mid-fifth century BC, was converted at an unknown date to ­Christian worship – one of the reasons for its excellent state of preservation. The traveller Edward Dodwell, who was in Athens from 1801, wrote that ‘it is a most fortunate circumstance, that the Theseion has been converted into a Christian church; if this obstacle had not happily intervened, the whole of the sculpture would now have been in the British Museum’.2