IFESTIAS (Ancient city) LEMNOS (LIMNOS)
Ancient Hephaestiais built in the region north of the Pournja gulf. It is dated from the Copper stone era and it appears that it was inhabited continuously until the Byzantine years. The archaeological excavations could reveal among the others the sanctuary of the Great godess, necropolis, baths, a big settlement - very probably palace and hellenistic-roman theatre. Most important discoveries of ceramic art of local production and high artistic quality are exposed in the museum of Myrjna. The very big extent of the archaeological space, which has been excavated only punctually and the marvellous spot charms the visitor.
This text is cited Sept 2003 from the Municipality of Moudros URL below.
The first excavations in Ifestia were done by the Italian Archaeologist
Della Seta from 1926 to 1936. From these excavations the largest and most ancient
city of Lemnos -historic years- was discovered. The city's guardian was believed
to be the god Ifestos whose name was given to the city. Ifestia was the centre
of the ancient Greek religion on the island. Coins that were found in the region
of Ifestia had on them a lit torch that proved that ceremonies in honour of the
god Ifestos were performed, the so called "Ifestia". Ifestia was an important
port, built by the Pelasgi, on a peninsula that was surrounded by sea forming
two natural bays.
The excavations brought to light a sanctuary that was dedicated to the Great Goddess Lemnos, cemeteries, baths, a large building like a palace that most probably was the labyrinth of Lemnos that Plinios mentions, wells and a theatre of the Hellenistic period. Many houses were found, a sanctuary and a large burnt deserted cemetery that belonged to a Greek population that inhabited the island from the 8th until the 6th century BC. The sanctuary is believed to have been destroyed around the end of the 6th century BC. Many weapons, gold objects, clay idols and pottery of regional art were found. On this pottery a geometrical illustration was accomplished by curved figures, Creto-Mycinian tradition that existed on the island until relatively late, creating an art full of vitality and motion. Some pieces of pottery have the same writing as that found on the column of Kaminia.
Objects that were found, witness the trade exchange between the city of Ifestia, and the other islands of the Aegean. Pottery of the early Corinthian years and Attic, with black figures portray the relations of this city with areas of inland Greece.
After the conquest of the island by Athens, the population, according to Herodotus, declined. Many graves exist with attic pottery and the oldest is estimated around the first half of the 5th century. Many graves of the following years were found that are from up until the roman era. Between the Greek buildings an ancient theatre was found which originally was built during the Hellenistic period and later rebuilt in the roman era.
Other buildings (churches and houses) witness the importance of the city during the Byzantine period.
For the period of recess and total evacuation of the city two reasons seemed to have contributed. Firstly the natural destruction of the port due to the flooding from heavy rain and secondly the domination of Christianity around the second and third century. The Christians unable to apply their religion as they wanted in the city, found a new centre at Kotsinas and the progress of this new city caused Ifestia to be deserted.
This text is cited Jan 2004 from the Limnos Medical Association URL below.
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