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by Archaeology Newsroom

The “Drakospita” (= Dragons houses)

Hawkins was the first to discover the drakospito (dragon’s house) on the summit of Mount Ochi, on September 11, 1797. The attention paid to their chronology in the various publications on the drakospita of the Mounts Ochi and Styra show that they are many and that all visitors have been deeply impressed; as a matter of fact each one of them has tried in his own way to give an explanation of the buildings’ purpose and function. The most important of these is situated on the summit of Ochi, while many others are scattered in the broader district of SW Euboea .The most wellknown among them is the Palli Laka Drago on the slope of mount Kliossi.

A great number of these drakospita show an interesting structure in their groundplan and are used as sheep-folds. They strongly resemble the Cretan “mitata” that function as secondary structures in pastoral units used especially for the cheese-making process. Undoubtedly these edifices can be assigned to the broad category of buildings classified by scientists in the category of «megalithic» constructions located in the islands of the western Mediterranean. They exhibit a variety of plan, mostly cyclical or elliptical and are commonly known as “navetta”. Regarding the date of the erection of the drakospita , it is difficult to attempt and the opinions expressed so far differ considerably .Scholars of former times have considered the Ochi drakospito as one of the most ancient sactuaries in Greece (Hawkins 1797), while Ulrichs thinks that this edifice must be the oldest Greek temple. All relevant views are thoroughly presented in our study on the drakospita of the SW Euboea (pp. 455-463). Finally, we must also stress here the threat the existence of these monuments is exposed to as long as they remain at the mercy of nature and time. The state should take care of the restoration of their micro-environment so that these buildings can peacefully coexist within the landscape in which they have stood for centuries.