The Geometric Settlement in Zagora Andros, Greece:
The Geometric settlement of Zagora is strategically located on a plateau of a precipitous headland. This site was first discovered in the 19th century by the erstwhile Ephor of Antiquities Ant. Meliarakis. However, planned excavations of the site commenced only in the year 1960 under the stewardship of the Ephor of Antiquities Nicholas Zaphiropoulos. Then again from the year 1965 till 1972, a more intensive excavation was carried out by the renowned Prof. Alexander Kambitoglou, which revealed the greater part of the settlement. Limited renovation works have been conducted particularly on the house walls. The Geometric settlement dates back to the 10th-8th centuries BC and is protected by an impregnable wall which is 110 meters long.
The entry to the settlement was through a huge gate, which was reportedly renovated in the 6th century BC. During this time the temple too came into existence. The sanctuary was functional till the 5th century BC in spite of the fact that it was abandoned in 700 BC. The temple was built during the period 575-500 BC and was conspicuous by its megaron shape as well as a blocked up porch and cella. Goddess Artemis was most likely the guardian deity of this temple.
It is the most ancient city in Europe and dates back to 4,500 ? 3,300 BC
It is the largest settlement of the Modern Neolithic Age that has been found in the Aegean. Strofilas was found almost intact in excavations redefining the data of the Cycladic prehistory.
Obviously, the position of Andros was a natural bridge between the islands of the Aegean Sea and mainland Greece. It seems that the island?s characteristics such as vegetation, waters and fertile land have favoured the population and housing development of the site. Strofilas reveals a social structure and organisation at an early age because the existence of the city presupposes a collective effort. It also puts our knowledge on new bases for the form and structure of settlements, the art and metallurgy of the Neolithic, Early Cycladic and Middle Cycladic era.
Strofilas is the largest and best preserved, organized and extremely densely built settlement of the Neolithic Age of the Aegean islands. It presents early urban structures and its fortification is the oldest documented example of defensive architecture with gate and bastions. Its ruins uncover a unique in size settlement stretching over 30 acres.
Large buildings, arched and quadrilaterals walls, which are preserved up to 1 meter height were revealed. The largest part of the wall has been found about 100 meters in length, still standing up to 2 meters in height, with a thickness of 1.60 to 2 meters. The 1.5 meter wide gate is protected by a precursor-shaped bastion and is 2000 years older than the known early Cycladic fortifications.
Also important are findings such as clay pots, stone tools, arrows and spikes, jewelery, statuettes and bronze objects. Particularly valuable finds are the rock carvings that adorn the wall, the floor of the sanctuary and the rocks along the wall. Carvings with animals, fish, more than 60 ships and spirals. Strofilas in Andros is an exceptionally interesting archaeological site, unprecedented in size and preservation for its time.
Paleopolis was the ancient capital of Andros and lies 9 km from Batsi, with its port and market sunk. Its name means old city and flourished from the Classical ages till the Roman times. The size of the ancient city is known from the remains of the ancient wall that once surrounded the area. Archaeological research has shown that the city had a thriving marketplace, a theatre and some temples. Today, close to the site of the ancient town, on the slopes of Mount Petalo, there is the modern village of Paleopolis. This village has a small museum that houses findings from the archaeological excavations held in the area in 1956. To go to the area of ancient Paleopolis, you can follow a narrow path to the sea and step down the 1,039 steps to the ancient settlement or just drive your car there. There are some remains on the shore and you can also see the sunken meeting place (agora) at the bottom of the sea.
In the region of Kato Aprovato there is the major significance archaeological area of Ipsili, which dates from the Geometrical Period.
Ipsili is a big hill, almost in the center of the island?s west coast, on which the ruins of the built-up area are lying while on the top a castellated citadel is placed.
The excavations outside the wall, brought to light thickset buildings which probably were part of the fortification system. At the center of the citadel a kind of mansion – made church was excavated, with gauge 7x10cm, dated to Archaic Era (6thC b.c.).
The double shrine and the findings indicate thata there was probably double worship, maybe to Dimitra and Persefoni. Moreover, into the ambit of the citadel, it was revealed a significant building complex with four ribbon periods ,from the Geometrical Era till the After Hellenistic and Roman Era.
Eastwards, in another point, a building with hypoprotogeometrical ceramics shows that the habitation in Ipsili comes from the 10th centurey B.C. at least.
The area seems to be left abandoned in a wide range during the end of the8th century B.C. but life kept on in the limited area of the citadel.