The people met, not as usual in the Pnyx, but in the Agora, in the presence of the Archons, and recorded their votes by placing in urns small fragments of pottery (which in the ancient world served the purpose of waste-paper) (ostraca) on which they wrote the name of the person whom they wished to banish.
Slope of the Pnyx (395 ft.
There can be little doubt that the Pnyx was the seat of an ancient cult; the meetings of the Ecclesia were of a religious character and were preceded by a sacrifice to Zeus 'Ayopa70s; nor is it conceivable that, but for its sacred associations, a site would have been chosen so unsuitable for the purposes of a popular assembly as to need the addition of a costly artificial auditorium.
It seems inconceivable, however, that any other site should have been preferred by the primitive settlers to the Acropolis, which offered the greatest advantages for defence; the Pnyx, owing to its proximity to the centres of civic life, can never have been deserted, and that portion which lay within the city walls must have been fully occupied when Athens was crowded during the Peloponnesian War.
The remains on the Pnyx and its neighbourhood cannot all be assigned to one epoch, the prehistoric age.
The site of the primitive Agora (apXaia etyopa) was probably in the hollow between the Acropolis and the Pnyx, which formed a convenient meetingplace for the dwellers on the north and south sides of the fortress as well as for its inhabitants.
In 1892 Dorpfeld began a series of excavations in the district between the Acropolis and the Pnyx with the object of determining the situation of the buildings described by Pausanias as existing in the neighbourhood of the Agora, and more especially the position of the Enneacrunus fountain.
It is now generally agreed that the Agora of classical times covered the low ground between the hill of the " Theseum," the Areopagus and the Pnyx; and Pausanias, in the course of his description, appears to have reached its southern end.
The middle wall, beginning south of the Pnyx near the Melitan Gate, gradually approached the northern wall and, following a parallel course at an interval of 550 ft., diverged to the east near the modern New Phalerum and joined the Peiraeus walls on the height of Munychia where they turn inland from the sea.
The representation of plays was perhaps transferred to this spot from the early Orchestra in the Agora at the beginning of the 5th century B.C.; it afterwards superseded the Pnyx as the meeting-place of the Ecclesia.
An examination of the Pnyx in 1911 showed that the supporting wall is no earlier than the 4th century.
At Athens, with the increase of commerce and political interest, it was found advisable to call public meetings at the Pnyx or the temple of Dionysus; but the important assemblies, such as meetings for ostracism, were held in the agora.