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Κυριακή, 5 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Teichos Dymaion


The fortification was built in the mycenaean period, probably around 1300 B.C., in the so-called cyclopean manner (making use of large limestone blocks) and was protecting the hill on its three sides, the fourth being naturally protected by the cliff and the lagoon. The wall is 250m. long and 4.5-5.5m. thick, with an average surviving height of ca. 8.4m. Access to the inside of the citadel was provided by three gates, one at each side of the wall, the main gate at the southeastern side being further protected by a gate tower. House ruins belonging to successive habitation phases have come to light inside the acropolis, proving the intensive use of the site during the mycenaean period (1680-1040 B.C.). Human occupation of the site has been verified for phases prior to the fortification’s construction, as early as the Final Neolithic period (ca. 3500 B.C.) and more intensively during the Early and Middle Helladic periods (ca. 3000-1680 B.C.). 

In historical times human activity at Teichos Dymaion was, more or less, continuous. During the war between the Achaean and the Aitolian Leagues (220-217 B.C.) the site was seized by the Aitolian general Eutichidas and was later taken without battle by king Philip V of Macedonia, who subsequently handed it to the Dymaians. In roman times the acropolis was part of the Colonia Iulia Augusta Dumaeorum (the imperial colony of Dyme) and was probably inhabited by roman settlers. 

Intensive use of the site continued during the byzantine era. Significant alterations to the citadel’s original form took place during the middle byzantine period (10th - 12th cent. A.D.): a cross wall, dividing the acropolis in two parts, was built at that time, along with a tower over the southeastern corner of the fortification; the middle gate was disused and blocked by a wall. 

The Venetians took over the acropolis in 1408, when the catholic bishop of Patra leased the barony of Patra to them for a five-year period. Later on (1687-1715), 1000 settlers from Lidhoriki (a mountainous town in Phokis, in central Greece) came to live in the surrounding area that was then uninhabited; this is probably the period during which the northern part of the acropolis was used as a cemetery. After that, habitation on the site was very sporadic and has left no traces. When a number of western European travelers visited Teichos Dymaion during the 19th cent. it was found deserted. 

More recently, during World War II, the site was used as a military camp by the Italian occupation troops that built a number of installations (gun-shelters, bunkers, storage rooms, dormitories etc), thus causing extensive and irreversible damages to the prehistoric fortification.


Description

The prehistoric citadel of Teichos Dymaion, also known as ?Kastro tis Kalogrias? (the castle of Kalogria) occupies an imposing rocky hilltop at the southernmost tip of the so-called ?Mavra Vouna? (black mountains), a few hundred meters from the village of Araxos. This is the only fortified mycenaean acropolis in western Greece.

The site has been identified with Teichos Dymaion by Polybius and Strabo and the name has been confirmed by the finding of roof tile fragments bearing the stamp of neighboring Dyme, the dominant ancient city of the region. The name Teichos Dymaion dates back to the hellenistic period, when the mycenaean fort was the stronghold of Dyme in its defense against the raids of the Eleians and the Aitolians. An older name could have been Larissa (a common name, used for fortified citadels), mentioned by ancient writers as lying near river Larissos.

The location offers obvious strategic advantages to its inhabitants, providing unhindered views to the surrounding plain - the Dymaian land - and to the coastal zone towards the gulf of Patra to the north and the Ionian sea to the west.

This strategic location, along with the ample natural resources of the region, the Prokopos and Pappas lagoons, the forested slopes that would provide excellent hunting possibilities and the fertile plains spreading between the two major rivers of the region, Peiros and Larissos, give the reasons for the long term occupation of the site, beginning in the final neolithic period (ca. 3500 B.C.) and continuing, almost without a break, until medieval times (17th cent. A.D.).
Administrative Information
 
Official Unit:
6th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

Patra, Araxos, (castle of Kalogria) (Prefecture of Ahaia)

Telephone: 2693051605
Fax: 2610624051

Email: stepka@culture.gr


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