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Archaeological Site of Elea

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  • Address: Settlement of Elea, Thesprotia, Greece
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Settlement of Elea Settlement of Elea

When leaving from Paramythia you have the option to visit the settlement of Elea which is located in the Chrysavgi village, well known as "Castle of Veliani".

The settlement of Elea measures 10.5 hectares and is located on a naturally fortified plain, at the foot of the mounts of Paramythia, at an average height of 500 metres above sea-level. The ruins discovered in this area have been associated with the ancient city of Elea by Sotiris Dakaris, professor of Archaeology and researcher specialising in the history of Epirus.

Ancient Eleatis, the territory of Elea, was situated in the valley of the river Cocytus. It stretched from the northwest of Paramythia to the mouth of Acheron river, at Ammoudia Bay. Studies place the “Eleas Limin”, that is, the port of the ancient city according to ancient writers, and the Necromanteion of Acheron, meaning the mythological Oracle of the Dead, at this very bay.

The settlement was founded a little before the early 4th century BC. Elea seems to have been the seat of the Thesprotian Koinon for several decades. The city flourished during the Hellenistic period (3rd to 2nd century BC) and was ruined in 167 BC by the Roman legions of Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus.

There are strong, polygonal defensive walls on all accessible sides of the settlement. These walls have two gates, one on the eastern and one on the western side. The northeastern part of the settlement was very sparsely built. A small temple existed on the western side of this very area but up to this date it is still not known which deity was being worshipped here.

There is a main street in the level part of the settlement, oriented to the northeast. Smaller roads set the boundaries of private houses and public buildings.

The Agora, the heart of all political and commercial activities, is located right in the middle of the settlement. During the Hellenistic period, it was lined by stoas, meaning long and narrow buildings with columns at the front. An amphitheatric construction has been discovered on the south of the Agora and up until recently it was thought to have been the city theatre. However, the archaeological research of the years 2007 – 2008 has uncovered a stepped part of the ancient settlement with at least three blocks of buildings, which are separated by a network of roads and drainage courses, collecting the waste of the houses as well as rainwater from the roofs.

An imposing warehouse with polygonal walls situated on the southwest of the Agora, and the 1000 sq m. edifice discovered on the southwest of the settlement are both believed to have been buildings of public use.

Numerous foundations of private houses have been discovered and partially studied both around the Agora and in the north-western part of the settlement. Their size varies between 160 and 250 sq m. and they comprise 4-6 rooms. A large part of the ground floor of the buildings was taken up by rooms with large storage pithoi, whilst other rooms were used for the inhabitants’ other activities, such as weaving. The habitation rooms were usually located on the upper floor. In a few cases, the presence of clay tubs confirms the existence of bathrooms. The rooms connected to each other via door openings with makeshift stone thresholds. The floor was made of packed clay soil or carved out of the natural rock. The upper part of the walls was made of brick and the roof was cover with ceramic tiles.

Read 1848 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 10:44

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