The acropolis of Leivithra

The acropolis of Leivithra is an isolated, fortified hill at the “Kastri” site, delimited by torrents converging into the unified, broad bed of Ziliana. The earliest archaeological finds discovered to this day, indicate a long period of habitation from the 8th to the early 1st century B.C., when the site was destroyed and then abandoned. The destruction may have been caused by an earthquake, but the collapse of the slopes could also denote a violent post-seismic phenomenon related to the shifting of the waters of Olympus, a fact which could have explained the destruction of Leivithra by Sys (Ziliana), as mentioned by Pausanias. The risky choice of the site at the convergence of Upper (Ano) and Lower (Kato) Olympus, where successive ravines (Kanalia) are formed, appears to have been the cause for its destruction but it is also the reason behind the unique beauty of its natural environment.

 

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The acropolis in the centre, delimited by torrents converging into the unified, broad riverbed of Ziliana

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The acropolis of Leivithra from NW and the broad riverbed of Ziliana

The acropolis of Leivithra from W

The acropolis of Leivithra from W

The fortified hill has a triangular surface and steep, almost vertical slopes except for the N and SE side. Only a few sections have been investigated so far, mostly by trenches, where building remains of Classical and Hellenistic period have been unearthed. The fortification stone wall is visible at the N and W side, where it is reinforced with a rectangular tower, but is mainly not preserved at the rest summit of the hill. The internal buildings have mostly irregular ground plan and are organized with free layout among narrow streets. They preserve stone foundations often at great height, suggesting the existence of second floor. The upper walls were built from mudbricks, the roofs were covered with “laconian” tiles and the floors were usually of trodden earth or occasionally of small rounded pebbles. In the ground floor, there were often storage pointed-bottom pithoi, buried and frequently restored with lead clamps. Many artefacts have been found, as mainly pottery, figurines, loomweights, metal objects and tools, coins etc.

The tower at the W part of the fortification wall

The tower at the W part of the fortification wall

The N part of the fortification wall

The N part of the fortification wall

Partial view of acropolis

Partial view of acropolis

For the time being, the expansion and the ground plan of the city still remain unknown. Surface building foundations and other archaeological finds possibly locate the city to the north and west of the acropolis.

Archaic pottery from pits southern of the acropolis

Archaic pottery from pits southern of the acropolis

Table ware pottery (bowls)

Unguentaria

Moldmade "homeric" cup

Stamped handles of commercial, pointed – base amphorae)

Terracotta figurines

Clay loom weights, spools and spindle whorls

Metal weights, fishing sinkers and hooks

Jewelry (pins, fibulae, bracelets, rings)

Weapons (spear butts, javelins, arrowheads)

A bead from Tibet, that was probably transported to Leivithra by Macedonian veterans

Small marble relief

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The plane – tree forest in the north slopes of the acropolis, where an open space for cultural events is situated

Euripides “Bacchae", performed in the open space for cultural events near acropolis (Olympus festival)

Euripides “Bacchae”, performed in the open space for cultural events near acropolis (Olympus festival)

 


Written by: Effie Poulaki Pantermali