Archaeological sites

“Pigi Athinas” (broader area of Herakleion/Fila)

It is located next to the National Road and to the homonymous water source, in the area of the modern village Nei Pori. The excavation revealed a neolithic settlement with successive phases. In the second millennium the site was used as burial ground, maybe for prominent family groups (oikoi) of the community, with a monumental tombs cemetery. The tumuli were made with stones and were grounded on debris soils and pebbles, which were leveling the slopes with the occurrence of enclosures. The expansion of tumuli (“Kurgan”) is associated with the “spread” of Indo-European from the Eurasian steppes to the Balkans.

Pigi Athinas: Neolithic female figurine

Pigi Athinas: Tomb of first half of 2nd millennium B.C.

Pigi Athinas: Grave in tomb of first half of 2nd millennium B.C.

“Krania” (Herakleion/Platamon)

It is located at the NW slopes of the Platamon Castle hill. The excavation revealed workshops and enclosures of the Early Bronze Age and a monumental surrounding wall dated in the Middle – beginning of the Late Bronze Age, aiming to protect the water sources or the foothills from floods.

Krania: The layer of Early Bronze Age

Krania: The layer of Early Bronze Age

Krania: The precinct of 2nd millennium B.C

Krania: The precinct of 2nd millennium B.C

“Pigi Artemidos” (broader area of Herakleion)

It is located next to the National Road and to the homonymous water source, in the area of the modern village Platamonas. The site was initially used as a cemetery dating to the beginning of the Late Bronze Age and soon after as a residential area. The settlement findings were mostly handmade and wheel made pottery, plain or of Mycenaean type and rhythm.

The site was re inhabited in Classical period, possibly as a farmstead.

Pigi Artemidos cemetery: Bronze grave offerings of Mycenaean Age

Pigi Artemidos: Rectangular stone – built structure

“Platamon Stop” (broader area of Herakleion)

The site is located next to the National Road and to a water stream, in the area of the modern village Platamonas. In the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C. it was used as a residential area and soon after (1450-1200 B.C.) as a burial ground, with grave offerings of Mycenaean type and rhythm.

Platamon Stop cemetery: cist grave

Platamon Stop cemetery: Child΄s burial with wealthy grave offerings

Platamon Stop: Arcaeological finds

Platamon Stop cemetery: Bronze knife - grave offering of Mycenaean Age

Platamon Stop cemetery: Bronze spearhead - grave offering of Mycenaean Age

 “Rema Xydias” (broader area of Herakleion)

Next to the National Road in the area of Platamonas, a residential cluster was revealed, consisting of an apsidal building with rectangular-shaped outbuilding, which was transferred in context to the Leivithra Park.

The site was initially used as the burial ground of a prehistoric community. The excavation revealed a cemetery of 22 cist graves dating to the 14th-13th century b. C. with wealthy grave goods of Mycenaean type and rhythm. Parallel to the burial use or maybe soon after, the site was used as a residential area, as it is testified by the discovery of two apsidal buildings and a system of monumental enclosures.

The residential cluster is a rare architectural example deriving from an area with scarce building remnants of the Late Bronze Age. The apsidal building has stone-built foundations and a size of 10,30 Χ 4,80m. The walls were made of mudbricks and the two-sided roof of wood and reed. During its use, the apsidal building was expanded with the addition of a rectangular-shaped building with a parting wall. Inside the two buildings a number of findings was revealed: post holes from the posts that held the roof, a clay fireplace, traces of clay structures of everyday use, abundant vessels, both handmade and Mycenaean and finally stone and clay tools. Outside the building’s apse two “pithoi” were also revealed.

The apsidal type of structure derives from the Middle Bronze Age (beginning of the 2nd millennium b.C.). The example from the site “Rema Xydias” is probably a local survival of the apsidal type up through the Late Bronze Age. Furthermore, this apsidal building is associated with a plethora of Mycenaean type and rhythm pottery, which confirms the fact that the area of the Macedonian Olympus belongs to the Thessalian-Euboean cultural circle.

Rema Xydias: Aerophotograph of the apsidal building

Rema Xydias: Aerophotograph of the apsidal building

Rema Xydias: Transfer of the apsidal building to Leivithra Park

Rema Xydias: Transfer of the apsidal building to Leivithra Park

Rema Xydias: Handmade pottery from the apsidal building of Mycenaean Age

Rema Xydias: Wheel made pottery and handmade cup from the apsidal building of Mycenaean Age

Rema Xydias: Handmade pottery from the apsidal building of Mycenaean Age

Rema Xydias: Small findings from the apsidal building of Mycenaean Age

“Valtos Topolianis” (broader area of Leivithra)

Next to the sea, in the area of the modern village Leptokarya, a prehistoric settlement with successive phases was revealed, dated in the 2nd millennium B.C.

«Valtos 3»: Early 2nd millennium B.C. Settlement with a few architectural remains but wealthy of pottery and other finds.

«Valtos 2»: 1745-1620 B.C. Settlement with monumental enclosures and tomb cemetery, where the tumuli are often postdated than the graves they include.

«Valtos 1»: 1300-1100 B.C. Rough installation with lack of stone built remains.

Valtos Topolianis cemetery: Necklace, earrings and an eight-shaped ring – grave offerings of Late Bronze Age

Valtos 2: Monumental surrounding wall

Valtos 2: Tomb

“Spathes – Xerolakki” (area of Petra)

Cemetery at a steep slope of Upper Olympus, BE of modern village St. Demetrius. At an altitude of 1000-1100m with full supervision of the crossing from Macedonia to Thessaly through the Straits of Petra, the site is dated from the 14o to the 13o century b.C., maybe till the early 12th. Only cist graves in the bottom of large, rectangular pits were revealed, a type of grave that is known formerly in Southern Greece. The pottery is handmade and wheel made of Mycenaean rhythm.

Spathes cemetery: Graphic representation of the common grave type

Graphic representation of Middle Helladic I – Late Helladic I grave

Spathes cemetery: The lower part of the grave, which is covered with slate and plastered with clay

Grave of Spathes cemetery

Grave of Spathes cemetery

Spathes cemetery: Rounded alabaster of Mycenaean rhythm

Spathes cemetery: Straight - sided alabaster of Mycenaean rhythm

Spathes cemetery: Wheel made, handless jar of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Handmade, handless jar of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Handmade, handless jar of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Handmade, handless jar of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Grave 8, flask of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Grave 8, steatite seal stones of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Grave 8, bronze sword of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: light blue glass tablets, maybe jewelry of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Necklace with twenty four glass beads of Mycenaean Age

Spathes cemetery: Necklace with twenty eight amber beads of Mycenaean Age

“Treis Elies” (area of Petra)

It is the earliest cemetery of Iron Age in the Macedonian Olympus, next to the ancient Petra, on the road to modern village Agios Dimitrios. The toponym Petra is homeric and describes the steep hill of the site (Petra= Stone), where an ancient / Byzantine / post-Byzantine settlement is located, at an altitude of about 500 meters.

The wheel made pottery follows the sub – Mycenaean / Geometric tradition, with more frequent shape the amphora. The handmade pottery is sometimes polished and usually without painted decoration, with the exception of two matt-painted jugs.

Aerophotograph of Treis Elies cemetery

Aerophotograph of Treis Elies cemetery

Treis Elies cemetery: Wheel made amphoriskos of Early Iron Age

Treis Elies cemetery: Handmade matt-painted jug of Early Iron Age

Treis Elies cemetery: Handmade matt-painted jug of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries of Early Iron Age in the broader Olympus region of Dion

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With cyan, Dion of historical times, with green and red the modern villages Malathria and Karitsa. The navigable river Vafyras and Variko, lake and marsh, lie eastern and southern of the ancient city. The tombs cemeteries lie among streams, at the high foothills of Olympus

An inherited trait been identified in two children of a tomb by the anthropologist V. Tritsaroli, indicates a relational relationship, enhancing the reasonable assumption for the family content of the tombs.

Dominant practice was the burial instead of the cremation, as in all the early periods. Cist graves are the rule, but rarely there are other types as burial jars, with only one example to date.

The Protogeometric wheel made pottery predominates, dated at least from the 10th to the middle of the 8th century b.C. Τhe strong presence of the cutaway jug here and to the neighboring Thessaly, is considered as a northern loan even associated with movements of people groups.

General view of the graves of an excavated tomb

General view of the graves of an excavated tomb

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Necklace of sardonyx of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Wheel made decorated jug of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Wheel made decorated jug of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Wheel made decorated cup of Early Iron Age belonging to the Thessalian - Macedonian cultural circle

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Wheel made cup with isolated semi - circles of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Wheel made, decorated stemmed bowl of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Wheel made decorated amphoriskos with horizontal handles of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Handmade burnished jug with cutaway neck of Early Iron Age

Tombs cemeteries in the broader Olympus region of Dion: Handmade, burnished cup of Early Iron Age

“Krania” (Herakleion/Platamon)

Sparsely populated settlement of the Early Iron Age that was revealed at the foot of the hill of Platamonas Castle, where the ancient Herakleion is located. As many other sites of the same period, it was destroyed violently in the late 8th century B.C.

In the second half of the 8th century B.C. a small, apsidal building, which shortly afterwards became oval, was built on terraces and a surrounding wall of the Bronze Age. The foundation was made of stones and its upper part was possibly made of mud bricks. lt also might had a thatched roof with reeds or rushes on a wooden frame. At the building’s center, two abutting hearths were found, along with a burial without any offerings, which was disrupted in the early Christian period. However, part of the frame was covered by an untouched destruction layer of the 4th century B.C., and of the geometric building itself. Νο signs of heroization and worship were identified. Inside and outside the building dozens of pottery sherds (a few handmade and all the rest wheel made), mud bricks, animal bones and shells were found.

Krania: Possible reconstruction of the elliptical, single-room building

Krania: Possible reconstruction of the elliptical, single-room building

The inhabitants of the settlement cultivated cereals, legumes, rare vegetables (eg watermelon) and trees. They also ate fish, crabs and shells and had domestic animals, as sheep and goats, horses, mules, donkeys and dogs. Among their occupations were hunting, metalworking, weaving and ceramic manufacturing.

They had contacts with other Greek regions, especially Euboea, eastern Aegean and Corinth, wherefrom they introduced their finest houseware. It΄s not clear what they gave in return, but if we think the needs in shipbuilding of the period, the timber from Olympus would be an important exchange.

Sarakatsani woman spins next to a hut made of branches, at the foot of mount Olympus. Early 20th century. Photo by F. Boissonnas

Sarakatsani woman spins next to a hut made of branches, at the foot of mount Olympus. Early 20th century. Photo by F. Boissonnas

More details about the elliptical building of the 8th century B.C. someone can see in the entrance of the park, where a building of the same size has been constructed with natural building techniques (Building B).

 

Written by: Effie Poulaki Pantermali