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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ancient Olynthos. Excavations and works of rehabilitation and promotion of the site

According to Herodotus, ancient Olynthos was founded in the mid-seventh century BC by the Viottieans. The first town was erected on the South Hill without a specific town-plan and was destroyed by the Persians in 479 BC. The ruins of a small Neolithic settlement have also been located on the same site. The establishment of the Common of the Chalkideans in 432 BC marked the increase of the town’s population and its extension to the North Hill. It was then that the town was rebuilt according to the Hippodamean town-plan.Parallel avenues intersecting perpandicular streets, created a network of building blocks with ten houses to each block. The houses of Olynthos belong to the “pastada” type.Each is organized around an open-air courtyard with a roofed Doric stoa, the “pastada”, to its north, to which the dwelling quarters give access. The north side of the house was two-storeyed. Other identifiable building areas are the kitchen, oikos, bathroom, men’s quarters, store-rooms, work-houses and shops.

The floor mosaics of Olynthos, among the earliest in Greece, are especially treasured in the history of art. Olynthos was destroyed by Philip II in 348 BC and was never again reinhabited. The first excavations were carried out by the American School of Archaeology under the direction of Professor D. M. Robinson from 1928 to 1938. An important project for the restoration and promotion of the North Hill settlement has been developed since 1990 by the XVItti Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, with the financial support of the European Union and Greek Ministry of Culture.