Important finds are continually being brought to light in the ongoing excavation by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lesbos since 2017 on the Ovriokastron peninsula in ancient Antissa, Western Lesbos, one of the island’s six city-states in antiquity.
The latest on the excavation was announced in a video titled “Discovering the ancient Antissa of Lesbos” released by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lesbos. This was part of promoting the excavation financed by the Public Investment Programme of the North Aegean Region and supervised by the head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lesbos and head of the excavation archaeologist Pavlos Triantafyllidis.
Among the finds was the marble head of a statue of the goddess Hygeia of the 3rd c. BC and an iron slingshot of the 14th c. AD which seems to have been used in the defense of the Byzantine castle of Aghioi Theodoroi identified as ancient Antissa. These two finds “were found side by side, east of the central gate of the southern sea wall, near the stone staircase of the the medieval walls’ battlements”. Moreover, according to the archaeological service “these got mixed up when the walls of the medieval castle fell in 1462 when the latter was besieged, captured and destroyed by the Ottomans”.
We should note here that, as recently announced by the Ministry of Culture, during the same excavations, part of a 3.50 meters long marble lintel was found on the ground near the foundations of the Byzantine gate of the castle of Aghioi Theodoroi. The lintel bears in relief the coats of arms of both the Gattilusi and the Palaeologue dynasties which until today were known from corresponding ones in the medieval castle of Mytilene. This indicates the Byzantines’ surrender of the governance of Lesbos and its castles to the Gattilusi in 1355 AD. The most interesting thing however about the lintel of this Byzantine gate is that found next to the coat of arms of the Palaeologues, instead of the double-headed eagle, symbol of Byzantium, was the depiction of a castle with its main gate and the three rectangular towers on the acropolis, a depiction which for the time being is identified as the Byzantine castle of Aghioi Theodoroi.