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Archaeological Site of Karthaia

Last Update: Nov 2013
Archaeological site, Cultural heritage KARTHEA , KEA , GREECE
Tel.: +30 22880 22079 , Fax: +30 22880 22079

Archaeological Site of Karthaia - Overview

  Karthaia was one of the four ancient cities of Kea, famous for its monumental architecture, its well built fortification and its silver coins, which indicate the city's economic and demographic flourishing. In the period of its prosperity, from the end of the 6th century B.C. to the end of Greek Antiquity, Karthaia had an acropolis containing the public buildings and the temples, the settlement, a theatre, a cemetery and a network of isolated defense towers. The literary sources and the excavation finds bear evidence for the cultural and artistic activity of the ancient city.
  J.P. Tournnefort, who travelled around Ceos in 1699, refers to the site as "Ioulis" but the excavations conducted in 1811-1812 by P.O. Broendsted, confirmed its identification with Karthaia. At the beginning of the century (1905, 1920-21) P. Graindor carried out excavations in the area of the fortification wall, the area of the temples and at Vathypotamos. The temples of Athena and Apollo, and the Theatre were uncovered in 1963-65 during the clearing and excavations conducted by the Archaeological Service. Since 1987, the Ephorate of Antiquities in collaboration with the University of Athens has carried out systematic investigation on the site (drawings, clearing, excavations).
  The most important monuments of the site are:
- The temple of Apollo Pythios, is erected on an artificial terrace on the east border of Karthaia. The temple, measuring 31 x 16 m., has six columns in antis and dates from the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th century B.C. In a niche hewn in the rock to the west of the building, stood the cult statue of the god. In the area of the temple were found architectural parts, sculptures and inscriptions while at its SW end, Christian burials were uncovered.
- The temple of Athena. Doric, peripteral temple measuring 11 x 23 m., with a colonnade of 6 x 11 columns. It is located near the SE gate of Karthaia and dates from the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th century B.C. Inside the temple were found architectural members, fragments of the sculptural representation of Amazonomachy, as well as inscriptions on the intercolumnations.
- The fortification walls of Karthaia. Double-faced or retaining walls, reinforced with rectangular or circular towers. The enceinte follows the natural formation of the rocky ground, forming recesses. The massive walls are built of polygonal or rectangular stone blocks, filled with small stones and other materials, and are dated to the end of the 6th until the 4th century B.C. The enceinte is interruped by six gates, from which start roads, connecting the acropolis with the whole island.
- The theatre lies on the south slope of the Karthaia hill and dates from the 1st century B.C.

Archaeological Site of Karthaia - Map

Executives & Departments

  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 210 3250148, 210 3310966, Fax: 210 3215897
    21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, 10 Epameinonda St., Athens

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Activities / facilities / services / specialization

Archaeological site

Art & culture

Visiting Information • Free admission • Site always open
Ancient city  
Ancient monuments • Propylaea / Classical period, 480-323 BC • Walls / Archaic period, 700-480 BC / Classical period, 480-323 BC / Hellenistic period, 323-31 BC • Theatre / Hellenistic period, 323-31 BC • Temples / Archaic period, 700-480 BC
Ancient sanctuary • Sanctuary of Athena • Sanctuary of Apollo

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