The large Archaic temple to the south of the Erechtheion, which today preserves only its foundations, was called the "Old Temple" according to epigraphic evidence. Dedicated to Athena Polias, the patron deity of the city, it housed the xoanon, the wooden cult statue of the goddess to which the Athenians offered a peplos during the Panathenaic festival. The western section of the temple, consisting of three smaller parts, housed the cults of other divinities, possibly Hephaistus, Poseidon-Erechtheus and the hero Boutes.
Built at the site once occupied by the palace of the Mycenaean ruler of Attica, the temple replaced a smaller Geometric one (8th century B.C.) also dedicated to Athena Polias. The only remains of this early temple are two stone column bases as well as a bronze disc with an image of Gorgo, which adorned the pediment or the tip of the roof in the 7th century B.C.
The "Old Temple" of Athena, a Doric peripteral building with 6 columns at the front and rear end and 12 at the sides, measured 43.44 x 21.43 meters. It was built of poros, while Parian marble was used for some upper parts, such as the metopes, pedimental sculptures and tiles. One pediment was adorned with a sculpted group illustrating the Gigantomachy (the battle between the Olympian gods and the rebellious Giants), while the other featured a partially preserved group of lions devouring a bull. The altar, which is no longer preserved, was located to the east of the temple, as is indicated by some cuttings on the rock.
The temple was built in 525-500 B.C. and is associated with the sons of the tyrant Peisistratos or the Athenian people at the time of the establishment of Democracy by Kleisthenes. It was destroyed in 480 B.C., during the Persian invasion. Many of its architectural members were later incorporated in the north wall of the Acropolis.