The inhabitants of Vitsa were mostly stock-breeders but their life
standards were quite high. To this conclusion point the rich offerings in the
graves of the 8th century B.C. and the Classical period, with a large percentage
of imported and expensive bronze vessels. At the same time, the population increased
remarkably but a sudden decrease occured in the third quarter of the 8th century,
reaching its lowest point in the 7th century B.C. After a short recovery in the
early 5th century B.C., the population decreased gradually until the third quarter
of the 4th century B.C., when the settlement was burned down and subsequently
The site was discovered in 1965 during the construction of a cistern in the community
of Vitsa, and the area was systematically surveyed in 1966. Excavations were carried
out from 1968 until 1975 in the area to the west of the cisterns, in the "south
insula" where the south cemetery is located. The north cemetery was excavated
in 1971 and the investigation of the site was completed in 1975, when the area
south of the "south insula" was excavated.
The most important monuments are:
The site was continuously inhabited from the 9th until
the 4th century B.C. and the architectural remains are dated to this period. In
the 5th and 4th centuries, though, the settlement extended further to the south.
In the Geometric and Archaic periods the houses were curvilinear: in the Classical
period, rectangular or square structures predominated but the older types continued
to be in use.
The south cemetery
occupies an area of 23.60 by 16.50 m. One hundred and
fifty-one graves have been revealed, covering the long period from the 9th until
the late 4th century B.C. Because of the steep slope of the terrain, the graves
present differences in shape and mode of construction: the majority are cist-graves
and heaps of stones, especially where the ground is rocky. Low retaining walls
at the SW end of the cemetery kept in place the earth that covered the graves.
The north cemetery
covers an area of 11 by 12 m. at a distance of 10 m.
to the NE of the settlement. Twenty-six graves have been excavated, dated from
the 8th until the 4th century B.C. With the exception of two superimposed graves,
they all lie at the same level. The graves of the Geometric period are plain pits,
while those of the Classical period are mostly heaps of stone. The burial habits
present strong similarities to those attested at the south cemetery. The Middle
Geometric tumulus remained undisturbed until the 4th century B.C., when all the
graves were constructed on its periphery.
In both cemeteries, men were buried with their armour
(iron swords, knives, spear heads and daggers) and women with their jewellery (fibulae and pins,
necklaces, rings, hair ornaments). Almost every grave contained two or five vases.
In the Geometric period these vases were either imported from Corinth or local
products but from the end of the 6th until the 4th century B.C., they were almost
exclusively imported from Attica. Apart from the clay vessels, a few bronze ones
were also uncovered.