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Archaeological Site of Vitsa

Last Update: Jun 2010
Archaeological site, Cultural heritage VITSA , KENTRIKO ZAGORI , GREECE

Archaeological Site of Vitsa - Overview

  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 abandoned.
  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 settlement. 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.

Archaeological Site of Vitsa - Map

Executives & Departments

  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 26510 01050, 26510 01051, Fax: 26510 01052
    12th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Ioannina

Principals / HQ / participations...

Activities / facilities / services / specialization

Archaeological site

Art & culture

Visiting Information • Free admission • Site always open
Ancient settlement • Geometric period, 1025-700 BC • Archaic period, 700-480 BC • Classical period, 480-323 BC
Cemetery • Geometric period, 1025-700 BC • Archaic period, 700-480 BC • Classical period, 480-323 BC

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