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transferred to this spot from the early Orchestra in the Agora at the beginning of the 5th century B.C.; it afterwards superseded the Pnyx as the meeting-place of the Ecclesia.
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.
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.
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.
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.