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by Archaeology Newsroom

The rocks of Kavala tell of a lost civilization

Lost, “disappearing” civilizations leave behind traces, which attract our curiosity. History teaches that the disappearing procedure takes place progressively because the number of humans and creations involved in it is considerably large. The probable reason which can cause a sudden “exodus” from a certain area may be a natural disaster, an invasion or an occupation. It is certain that such a factor contributed to the “disappearance” of the population settled in the periphery of Kavala. Who, in any case, were the native inhabitants of this district? We may never know the answer. There exists an abundance of indications in cave-shelters, the ploughs of contemporary farmers have brought to light tools and works of a past people mentioned by Herodotus and Thucydides and finally there is the illicit activity of antiquities smugglers. The Archaeological Service has not, unfortunately, been seriously engaged so far with these areas of Kavala that thus remain closed to science. However, the Speleological Team of Kavala belonging to the Greek Speleological Society, twenty five years ago began to locate, record, photograph and research all the carstic and relevant phenomena in the area around Kavala and the Mount Paggaion. This discreet and consistent work was recently rewarded with a most important discovery. The hard surface of the Kavaia rocks has preserved the testimory of a lost civilization. In the districts of Philippoi -Kryoneri – Zygos – Old Kavala – Elaeo-chori, Paggaion – Eleftheroupolis and Pholea in the Kavala county there exists a multitude of significant rock graffiti.

In 1965 professor G. Bakalakis during the 5th Congress of Studies in Magna Grecia, that took place in Taranto, referred to “paintings”, similar to those of Spain, which were discovered on rocks in the area “Matera” in Apoulia and expressed the wish that similar works be also found in Greece. Four years later the Paggaion graffiti were located. Their great importance does not lie in their number which incidentally is greater than anywhere else but in their evidently being the origin and starting point of graffiti in the rest of Greece and in Europe.