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The 2009 Survey

In 2009, the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology of the University of Thessaly, in collaboration with the 13th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, conducted a systematic survey at the site of Kephala, which lasted a limited period of time.

The site has been identified with Palaiskiathos, the earliest of the two ancient poleis of Skiathos, as mentioned in the sources [Skylax, Periplous, 58. For the identification, see Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou, Α., 2001. “Η αρχαία Σκιάθος μέσα από τα κείμενα και τα μνημεία της”, in Α. Sampson (ed.), Αρχαιολογική έρευνα στις Βόρειες Σποράδες, Alonnisos, 101-103, 110-113].) The site was already known since the 70’s (Sampson, A. , 1977. Η Σκιάθος από τους προϊστορικούς χρόνους μέχρι την αρχή του 20ου αιώνα, Athens), while in the early 80’s it attracted the interest of the British School at Athens. Information concerning the history and the archaeological remains of Kephala are found in a number of studies (see in particular, A. Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou, 2005. Σκιάθος, in Α. Vlachopoulos (ed.), Αρχαιολογία. Νησιά του Αιγαίου, Athens, 159-160).

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Systematic collection of finds from the plateau.

During the season of 2009, the following activities were carried out:

  1. A topographic plan of the site was undertaken by the topographer of the 13th Ephorate.
  2. Parts of the fortification wall were drawn (T1.1, T1.2, T1.4), after the removal of the vegetation
  3. A terrace wall (T2), detected north and outside of the fortification wall, was drawn
  4. An oval edifice at the N. side of the plateau was drawn, after being cleaned
  5. The preserved architectural remains were photographed
  6. A systematic survey and collection of surface finds from the site of Kephala was conducted.

The survey extended to the wider area of the site and in particular over the valley between the peninsula of Kephala and the site of “Korakofolia”, aiming at spotting the necropolis of the settlement. No finds were retrieved from “Korakopholia” (Site 1). A small installation, probably of rural character of the Classical or Hellenistic period was detected lower at the slope, towards its SE side (Site 2). Transport amphorae –a stamped handle of a Knidian amphora is worth mentioning-, pyramidal loomweights, one of which bearing a stamp, were found. At the northeast end of the airport’s runaway, few Hellenistic and Late Roman sherds were detected.

The headland is a long and rather narrow plateau, 57.22 m. at its highest point from sea level, measuring ca. 140 m. in length (N-S) and 37 m. in width at its northern and 50 m. at its southern part. Xanemos, a wide and deep bay, lies to its west side. The plan of the fortification wall can be compared with that of a number of Early Iron Age settlements, like Vathy Limenari on Donousa and Zagora on Andros, both in the Cyclades.

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Section T1.6 of the fortification wall with the indentation.

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The emplekton fill of section T1.4 of the fortification wall.

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Section T1.1 of the fortification wall.


Part of the fortification wall is preserved at the south and southeastern sides of the settlement. It is worth noting that the south-western part has an indented trace. The construction is typical for early fortifications, composed of small or middle-sized stones. Certain parts reach the height of 3 m. and they can be even dated to the Geometric period. This date is indicated by a number of Late Geometric sherds that have been collected from the “emplekton” fill of part of the wall (T1.4).

The better preserved section of the fortification wall is situated at the southwestern part of the settlement, in area T1.1. Large part of the wall with its fill is preserved, with a bastion having an interior room being visible. The presence of a gate here or a tower is possible.

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The Terrace Wall T2 outside the fortification wall from S.

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The illegally explored pit and T5.

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The curved wall T4.


Outside of the fortification wall, to its south, a terrace wall, 8.80 m. long, was detected (T2). Many sherds and some slags were collected from its immediate vicinity.

The settlement occupied the plateau of the peninsula. Due to the extensive vegetation only few architectural remains were visible. On the top, at the north side of the site, at a height of +57.22 m. an illegally opened and explored pit, contained parts of constructions (T5), which have been already surveyed by the Ephorate.

A curved wall was detected in a small distance to its south (T4). It is not clear whether the remains belong to an ancient edifice or to a fairly recent retaining wall.

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Grave detected SE of the settlement.

The necropolis of the settlement should be sought southeast of the settlement, in close distance to the coast, where a grave with one of its cover slabs is visible.

A systematic collection of surface finds were conducted on the plateau, inside, as well as outside the fortification wall. According to the collected finds, the earliest activity at the site can be placed to the Protogeometric period. Many sherds, dating from the 10th to the 8th centuries BC seem Euboean. The site must have been occupied until the Classical period, even though sporadic Hellenistic and Roman sherds were detected.

The finds were catalogued and stored at the Archaeological Museum of Volos. 156 characteristic finds were given a catalogue number, were described and photographed.

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Τhe members of the research team (2009).

Professor Alexander Mazarakis Ainian, together with the archaeologist Dr. Alexandra Alexandridou, the PhD students Katerina Tzavellopoulou, Maria Panagou, the Master degree holders George Chiotis, Chrysa Koukoulidou, the Masters students Konstantina Doudoumi, Chrysa Emmanouilidou, Eleni Karouzou, Marilena Maligianni, Dora Strinopoulou, Giannakis Timotheou, the BA holders in Archaeology, Voula Theocharidou, the BA students Elina Mouchtarelou, Vasiliki Papazoglou, Natalena Zachou and the French Erasmus student Sophie Guillotin formed the research team of the University of Thessaly.

The survey was financed by the University of Thessaly (ΚΑΕ 4129), while the residence expenses of the research team on Skiathos were covered by the municipality of the island.


Α. Mazarakis Ainian
Professor of Classical Archaeology

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