Lefkandi (Greek: Λευκαντί) is a coastal village on the island of Euboea, Greece. Archaeological finds attest to a settlement on the promontory locally known as Xeropolis, while several associated cemeteries have been identified nearby. The settlement site is located on a promontory overlooking the Euripos, with small bays forming natural harbours east and west of the site. The cemeteries are located on the hillslopes northwest of the settlement; the plots identified so far are known as the East Cemetery, Skoubris, Palia Perivolia, Toumba, in addition to further smaller groups of burials. The site is located between the island's two main cities in antiquity, Chalkis and Eretria. Excavation here is conducted under the direction of the British School at Athens and is ongoing as of 2007 (previous campaigns in 1964–68, 1981–44).

Occupation at Lefkandi can be traced back to the Early Bronze Age, and continued throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages, to end at the beginning of the Archaic period (early 7th century BCE). The known cemeteries cover only part of the periods attested in the settlement, dating to the Submycenaean through Subgeometric periods (c. 1050 – 800 BCE, the "Greek Dark Ages"). The abandonment of Lefkandi coincides with a rise in settlement activity in nearby Eretria, and it has been argued by the excavators that the site is, in fact, Old Eretria. Some scholars have identified Lefkandi as the site of the ancient city of Argura.[1]

Lefkadi 8074754
Beach at Lefkandi

Lefkandi's contribution to archaeology

The site's importance is due to a number of factors. First, substantial occupation strata of the Late Helladic IIIC period (c. 1200 – 1100/1075 BCE) excavated in the 1960s allowed the establishment of a ceramic sequence for this period, at that time insufficiently attested. The IIIC settlement furthermore stands in contrast to sites in the other parts of Greece, such as the Peloponnese, where many sites were abandoned at the end of LHIIIB (i.e. the end of the Mycenaean palatial period). This situation places Lefkandi within a group of sites in Central Greece with important post-palatial occupation, such as Mitrou (settlement), Kalapodi (sanctuary), and Elateia (cemetery). Additionally, artifacts uncovered from the many cemeteries in the area show evidence for trade with Cyprus and the Levant.[2]

Potential Heroon

Heroon de Lefkandi
Heroon of Lefkandi, as seen from the main door.
Lefkandi, Greece. Monumental building c. 1000 BC
Reconstruction, heroon of Lefkandi c. 1000 BC.

The archaeological significance of the site was revealed in 1980[3] when a large mound was discovered to contain two shaft graves, one with the remains of a man and a woman under a large structure called by some a hērōön (ἡρῷον) or "hero's grave," the other held four horses which appear to have been sacrificed and were included in the grave. Two of the horses were found with iron bits still in their mouths. There is some dispute as to whether the structure was, in fact, a hērōön built to commemorate a hero or whether it was instead the grave of a couple who were locally important for other reasons. There are different theories of how the building was constructed. The older and structurally questionable version of this monumental building, built c 950 BC, envisages it to be 50 meters long and 13.8 meters wide. The main feature of this solution is with a wooden verandah, foreshadowing the peristasis of the temple architecture that started to appear with regularity some two centuries later.[4]. A structurally more probable solution is recently published in the annual of the British school at Athens, which reduces the height of the building and thus reducing the so-called veranda to a fence, surrounding the house.

One of the bodies in the grave had been cremated, the ashes being wrapped in a fringed linen cloth then stored in a bronze amphora from Cyprus. The amphora was engraved with a hunting scene and placed within a still larger bronze bowl. A sword and other grave goods were nearby. It is believed that the ashes were those of a man.

The woman's body was not cremated. Instead, she was buried alongside a wall and adorned with jewelry, including a ring of electrum, a Bronze braziere, and a gorget believed to have come from Babylonia and already a thousand years old when it was buried. An iron knife with an ivory handle was found near her shoulder. It is unknown whether this woman was buried contemporaneously with the man's remains, or at a later date. Scholars have suggested that the woman was slaughtered to be buried with the man, possibly her husband, in a practice reminiscent of the Indian custom of sati. Other scholars have pointed to the lack of conclusive evidence for sati in this instance, suggesting instead that this woman may have been an important person in the community in her own right, who was interred with the man's ashes after her own death.


Lefkandi Xeropolis promontory
Xeropolis promontory

Archaeological research has brought to light a settlement where continuous occupation can be demonstrated from the Mycenaean period through the Dark Ages and into historic times.[5][6] It has been suggested by the excavators that the site can be identified as the old Eretria which was forced to uproot and move farther from Chalkis as a result of the Lelantine War.


  1. ^ Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 55, and directory notes accompanying.
  2. ^ Catling, R. W. V. (Mar 2016). "Lefkandi".
  3. ^ Preliminary report by Mervyn Popham, E. Touloupa and L.H. Sackett, "The Hero of Lefkandi", in Antiquity 56 (1982:169-74); final publication R. W. V. Catling and I. S. Lemos, Lefkandi II. 1. The Protogeometric Building at Toumba. The Pottery, BSA Suppl. vol. 22, Oxford 1991; M. R. Popham, P. G. Calligas, and L. H. Sackett, (eds.), Lefkandi II: the Protogeometric Building at Toumba, Part 2. The Excavation, Architecture and Finds, BSA Suppl. vol. 23, Oxford 1993.
  5. ^ D. Evely (ed.), Lefkandi IV: The Bronze Age: The Late Helladic IIIC Settlement at Xeropolis, BSA Suppl. 39, London 2006
  6. ^ lefkandi.classics.ox.ac.uk


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Coordinates: 38°24′45″N 23°40′31″E / 38.41250°N 23.67528°E

10th century BC

The 10th century BC comprises the years from 1000 BC to 901 BC. This period followed the Late Bronze Age collapse in the Near East, and the century saw the Early Iron Age take hold there. The Greek Dark Ages which had come about in 1200 BC continued. The Neo-Assyrian Empire is established towards the end of the 10th century BC. In the Iron Age in India, the Vedic period is ongoing. In China, the Zhou dynasty is in power. Bronze Age Europe continued with Urnfield culture. Japan was inhabited by an evolving hunter-gatherer society during the Jōmon period.

Archaeological Museum of Eretria

The Archaeological Museum of Eretria is a museum in Eretria, in the Euboea regional unit of Central Greece.

The museum was established in 1960, but was enlarged between 1961 and 1962. It underwent further renovation and extension between 1987 and 1991 by the 11th Ephorate of Antiquities of the Greek Archaeological Service in collaboration with the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece.

Argura (Euboea)

Argura (Ancient Greek: Ἄργουρα) also called Argyra (Ἀργυρᾶ) was a town of ancient Euboea near Chalkis, but its exact location is unknown. Modern scholars differ as to its location, with the current village of Lefkandi in the estuary of the river Lelas being identified by Denis Knoepfler Tritle places his remains on the hill of Vrachos in Vasiliko. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World tentatively accept the Lefkandi location, as do the editors of the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire (38°24′16″N 23°39′47″E).Harpocration and Stephanus of Byzantium assert that the town had the status of a polis, but Hansen and Nielsen have found no evidence supporting the assertion.

Barry B. Powell

Barry Bruce Powell (born 1942) is an American classical scholar. He is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of the widely used textbook Classical Myth and many other books. Trained at Berkeley and Harvard, he is a specialist in Homer and in the history of writing. He has also taught Egyptian philology for many years and courses in Egyptian civilization.


A centaur (; Greek: kένταυρος, kéntauros, Latin: centaurus), or occasionally hippocentaur, is a mythological creature from Greek mythology with the upper body of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse. Centaurs are thought of in many Greek myths as being as wild as untamed horses, and were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia. Centaurs are subsequently featured in Roman mythology, and were familiar figures in the medieval bestiary. They remain a staple of modern fantastic literature.


Cynus (Ancient Greek: Κῦνος, romanized: Kynos) was the principal sea-port of the Opuntian Locrians, situated on a cape at the northern extremity of the Opuntian Gulf, opposite Aedepsus in Euboea, and at the distance of 60 stadia from Opus. Livy gives an incorrect idea of the position of Cynus, when he describes it as situated on the coast, at the distance of a mile from Opus. Cynus was an ancient town, being mentioned in the Homeric Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad. It was reported to have been the residence of Deucalion and Pyrrha; the tomb of the latter was shown there. Beside Livy and Homer, Cynus is mentioned by other ancient authors, including Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, and Ptolemy.Colonists from Cynus founded Autocane in Aeolis, situated opposite the island of Lesbos. It was one of the places that suffered the destruction caused by a tsunami that took place after an earthquake in 426 BCE. In 207 BCE, during the First Macedonian War, Cynus, which appears defined as an emporium of Opus, was the place to which the fleet of Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus retired after failing in its attack against Chalcis.


Eretria (; Greek: Ερέτρια, Eretria, literally "city of the rowers"' Ancient Greek: Ἐρέτρια) is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by many famous writers and actively involved in significant historical events.

Excavations of the ancient city began in the 1890s and have been conducted since 1964 by the Greek Archaeological Service (11th Ephorate of Antiquities) and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece.

Euboean vase painting

Euboean vase painting was a regional style of ancient Greek vase painting, prevalent on the island of Euboea.

The Iron Age pottery of Euboea is subdivided into four phases Subgeometric (1125-1050 BC), Protogeometric (1050-900 BC), Subprotogeometric (900-750 BC) and Late Geometric (750-700 BC). The finds from the cemeteries of Toumba, Skoubris and Palia, we well as from the settlements at Lefkandi and Xeropolis demonstrate the wealth of the island at that time. Although conditions changed several times, positively and negatively, afterwards, the pottery changed little. The Protogeometric style remained in existence until the mid-8th century. From about 825 BC onwards, an increased influence of Attic pottery is notable.

The Geometric vases of Euboea were products of high quality. The centres of production were at Eretria and Lefkandi. Some pof the vessels were covered in a thick cream-coloured slip . Initially, the potter-painters followed Attic precedents, later also Corinthian ones. Around 750 BC, the Cesnola Painter, displaying strong Attic influence, was active. He introduced the Attic style of figural painting. Euboea was the only region to produce vessels decorated with suspended concentric semicircles. Also only here, white paint or slip were used to enclose or fill ornamental motifs. The Subgeometric style subsequently survived for a considerable duration; it took some time for the Orientalising style to become established. Once it had done so, floral and other ornaments were very popular. Some experimentation took place with added colours (red and white) and with figural motifs (animals and humans). The influences were more evidently Attic and East Greek than from the true centre of the orientalising style, Corinth.

Euboean black-figure vase painting was influenced by Corinth and predominantly Attica. The distinction of Boeotian from Attic products is not always easy. Scholars assume that the bulk of the finds was produced in Eretria. Especially amphorae, lekythoi, hydriai and plates were painted. Large format amphorae were normally used for mythological imagery, such as the adventures of Herakles and the Judgement of Paris. Very large amphorae, derived from shapes of the 7th century, had conical lips and often showed images related to weddings. They were probably funeral vases, made especially for children who died before marriage. Typical of Eretrian black-figure pottery is the restricted use of incision and the regular use of white paint for floral ornaments. Apart from images orientated on Attic tradition, there was also wilder imagery, such as the rape of a deer by a satyr, or Herakles with centaurs and daimons. Vases of the Dolphin Class were originally considered Attic by scholars, but are now recognised as Euboean. However, their clay does not resemble that from any known Eretrian sources, suggesting that they were made in Chalkis.

For some black-figure styles, the origin is disputed. Thus, Chalkidian vase painting was initially considered Euboean, but is now usually assumed to be from Italy.

Greek Dark Ages

The Greek Dark Ages, Homeric Age (named for the fabled poet, Homer) or Geometric period (so called after the characteristic Geometric art of the time),

is the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the first signs of the Greek poleis (city states) in the 9th century BC.

The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. At about the same time, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed and in Egypt the New Kingdom fell into disarray that led to the Third Intermediate Period.

Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece, the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased. The decoration on Greek pottery after about 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler, generally geometric styles (1000–700 BC).

It was previously thought that all contact was lost between mainland Hellenes and foreign powers during this period, yielding little cultural progress or growth, but artifacts from excavations at Lefkandi on the Lelantine Plain in Euboea show that significant cultural and trade links with the east, particularly the Levant coast, developed from c. 900 BC onwards. Additionally, evidence has emerged of the new presence of Hellenes in sub-Mycenaean Cyprus and on the Syrian coast at Al-Mina.

Greek hero cult

Hero cults were one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. In Homeric Greek, "hero" (ἥρως, hḗrōs) refers to a man who fought (on either side) during the Trojan War. By the historical period, however, the word came to mean specifically a dead man, venerated and propitiated at his tomb or at a designated shrine, because his fame during life or his unusual manner of death gave him power to support and protect the living. A hero was more than human but less than a god, and various kinds of supernatural figures came to be assimilated to the class of heroes; the distinction between a hero and a god was less than certain, especially in the case of Heracles, the most prominent, but atypical hero.The grand ruins and tumuli remaining from the Bronze Age gave the pre-literate Greeks of the 10th and 9th centuries BC a sense of a grand and vanished age; they reflected this in the oral epic tradition, which would crystallize in the Iliad. Copious renewed offerings begin to be represented, after a hiatus, at sites like Lefkandi, even though the names of the grandly buried dead were hardly remembered. "Stories began to be told to individuate the persons who were now believed to be buried in these old and imposing sites", observes Robin Lane Fox.

Helladic chronology

Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in archaeology and art history. It complements the Minoan chronology scheme devised by Sir Arthur Evans for the categorisation of Bronze Age artefacts from the Minoan civilization within a historical framework. Whereas Minoan chronology is specific to Crete, the cultural and geographical scope of Helladic chronology is mainland Greece during the same timespan (c.3200–c.1050). Similarly, a Cycladic chronology system is used for artifacts found in the Aegean islands. Archaeological evidence has shown that, broadly, civilisation developed concurrently across the whole region and so the three schemes complement each other chronologically. They are grouped together as "Aegean" in terms such as Aegean civilization.

The systems apply primarily to pottery, which is a benchmark for relative dating of associated artifacts such as tools and weapons. On the basis of style and technique, Evans divided his Cretan Bronze Age pottery finds into three main periods which he called Early, Middle and Late Minoan. These were sub-divided into phases and some of those into sub-phases. The Helladic and Cycladic schemes were devised later and have similar sub-divisions. Evans' system has stood the test of time remarkably well but his labels do not provide firm dates because change is never constant and some styles were retained in use much longer than others. Some pottery can be dated with reasonable precision by reference to Egyptian artifacts whose dates are more certain.

Helladic society and culture have antecedents in Neolithic Greece when most settlements were small villages which subsisted by means of agriculture, farming and hunting. The gradual development of skills such as bronze metallurgy, monumental architecture and construction of fortifications brought about the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The Late Helladic (c.1550–c.1050) is sometimes called the Mycenaean Age because Mycenae was then the dominant state in Greece. At the end of the Bronze Age (c.1050 BC), Aegean culture went into a long period of decline, termed a Dark Age by some historians, as a result of invasion and war.


A heroon or herõon (; Greek ἡρῷον, plural ἡρῷα, heroa), also latinized as heroum, was a shrine dedicated to an ancient Greek or Roman hero and used for the commemoration or cult worship of the hero. It was often erected over his or her supposed tomb or cenotaph.

Irene Lemos

Irene S. Lemos is a British classical archaeologist and academic, specialising in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age of Greece. She is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.

Keros-Syros culture

The Keros-Syros culture is named after two islands in the Cyclades — Keros and Syros. This culture flourished during the Early Cycladic II period (ca 2700-2300 BC) of the Cycladic civilization. The trade relations of this culture spread far and wide from the Greek mainland to Crete and Asia Minor.

Lelantine War

The Lelantine War is the modern name for a military conflict between the two ancient Greek city states Chalcis and Eretria in Euboea which took place in the early Archaic period, between c. 710 and 650 BC. The reason for war was, according to tradition, the struggle for the fertile Lelantine Plain on the island of Euboea. Due to the economic importance of the two participating poleis, the conflict spread considerably, with many further city states joining either side, resulting in much of Greece being at war. The historian Thucydides describes the Lelantine War as exceptional, the only war in Greece between the mythical Trojan War and the Persian Wars of the early 5th century BC in which allied cities rather than single ones were involved.Ancient authors normally refer to the War between Chalcidians and Eretrians (ancient Greek: πόλεμος Χαλκιδέων καὶ Ἐρετριῶν pólemos Chalkidéon kaì Eretriōn).

"The war between Chalcis and Eretria was the one in which most cities belonging to the rest of Greece were divided up into alliances with one side or the other." —Thucydides (I. 15, 3)


According to Greek mythology and legendary prehistory of the Aegean region, the Minyans (Greek: Μινύες, Minyes) were an autochthonous group inhabiting the Aegean region. However, the extent to which the prehistory of the Aegean world is reflected in literary accounts of legendary peoples, and the degree to which material culture can be securely linked to language-based ethnicity have been subjected to repeated revision.

The Mycenaean Greeks reached Crete as early as 1450 BCE. Greek presence on the mainland, however, dates to 1600 BCE as shown in the latest shaft graves. Other aspects of the "Minyan" period appear to arrive from northern Greece and the Balkans, in particular tumulus graves and perforated stone axes. John L. Caskey's interpretation of his archaeological excavations conducted in the 1950s linked the ethno-linguistic "Proto-Greeks" to the bearers of the "Minyan" (or Middle Helladic) culture. More recent scholars have questioned or amended his dating and doubted the linking of material culture to linguistic ethnicity.


The archaeological site of -Mitrou is located on a tidal islet in the Gulf of Atalanti, in East Lokris in Central Greece. Excavation of the site is conducted under the direction of the American School of Classical Studies, and as of 2007 is ongoing.Finds from surface survey indicate human presence already in the Neolithic period; occupation continues throughout the Bronze Age and into the Early Iron Age. In addition to the settlement, a Bronze Age boat and (reference needed) burials dating to the Bronze and Early Iron Ages have been found close to the settlement. Part of the site's importance derives from the apparently continuous habitation here after the end of the Mycenaean palatial Bronze Age, with no gap apparent between the post-palatial Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. This situation is mirrored in other Central Greek sites, such as Lefkandi, Kalapodi, Elateia, and Pyrgos Livanaton/Kynos.

Sub-Mycenaean pottery

Submycenaean pottery is a style of ancient Greek pottery. It is transitional between the preceding Mycenaean pottery and the subsequent styles of Greek vase painting, especially the Protogeometric style. The vases date to between 1030 and 1000 BC.

Submycenaean pottery is not very well researched, as only few sites from the period have been discovered so far. The style was first recognised in 1939 by Wilhelm Kraiker and Karl Kübler, based on finds from the Kerameikos and Pompeion cemeteries in Athens and on Salamis. The existence of the style remained disputed among archaeologists until later discoveries in Mycenae clearly showed the existence of separate Late Mycenaean and Submycenaean strata.

Submycenaean pottery occurs primarily in contexts such as inhumations and stone-built cist graves. Find locations are widely distributed, suggesting a settlement pattern of hamlets and villages. Apart from the sites mentioned above, Submycenaean pottery is known from locations such as Corinth, Asine, Kalapodi, Lefkandi and Tiryns.

The quality of the vases varies widely. Only few shapes were produced, especially stirrup jars with a pierced shoulder, belly amphorae and neck amphorae, lekythoi as well as jars, some with trefoil-shaped mouths. By the end of the Submycenaean period, the stirrup jar was replaced by the lekythos. Submycenaean decoration is rather simple, the hand-painted motifs are limited to horizontal or vertical wavy lines, single or double hatched and overlapping triangles, as well as single or multiple concentric semicircles. The shoulders of lekythoi, amphorae and stirrup jars bore ornamental decoration. Amphorae, amphoriskoi and jugs were usually painted with one or several thick wavy lines. In general, the style was much shorter and less carefully made than the previous types of pottery.

Toumba (Thessaloniki)

Toumba (Greek: Τούμπα) is a district in eastern Thessaloniki, Greece. It is divided into Ano Toumba and Kato Toumba (Upper and Lower Toumba) by a flume, and it is part of 4th Division of Thessaloniki Municipality.

In archaeology the term Toumba stands for the mounds created by prehistoric settlements. They were mistaken for barrows, hence the name that is derived from the word Tomb, but excavations show that they are tells. The mound that rises in the area gave the neighbourhood its name.


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