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by Archaeology Newsroom

The chronicle of the excavations at Dion

Dion (fr. Gr. Ζεύς gen. Διός) means a holy, sanctified site. Dion, in Macedonia, occupies a very narrow strip of land between the foot of Mount Olympus and the Thermaikos Sea. The temenos of the Olympian Zeus, the main sanctuary of all Macedonians in antiquity, was located here. Its history is related to royal names of Macedonia, such as Archelaos, Philipp II, Alexander, Cassandros, Philipp V and Perseus. In 1928 G. Soteriadis, Professor and Rector, at the time, of the University of Thessaloniki started excavating the site. The excavation was carried on until 1931 and brought to light a number of Hellenistic and Roman buildings. Most important among them was a vaulted Macedonian tomb with a Doric facade, an Ionian anteroom and a spacious funerary chamber with a large marble bed. A second phase of excavations started in 1963 and lasted, with a few intervals, until 1972. During this phase, which was realized due to Professor G. Bakalakis’ initiative, the southern part of the fortification wall as well as the Roman theater have been researched. Since 1973 the excavation has been supervised by Professor D. Pandermalis. The steadily progressing works had as their primary objective the research of the sanctuaries and then that of the town and cemetery.