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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Ionian Neighbors of Western Akarnania: The Kalamos and Kastos Islands

Episkopi, one of the three villages of Kalamos, presents a special archaeological interest. Remnants of the ancient town of the island have been preserved in the area of Hagios Minas, while Kastro, a fortress of military character with an earlier phase dating from the Early Byzantine period, is visible from the sea, as it stands north of Episkopi. Fortification remains of the ancient settlements of Kalamos have been located in the northeast side of the island at the sites Xylokastro, Zygos and Hellenika. The old unfortified settlement Kalamos was ere¬cted below the highest mountain top of the island, Vouni, and far from the sea, in order its inhabitants to be safeguarded against the pirates.

Kastos is a low, oblong, stony island, north of Kalamos. Its old settlement was lying higher than the small church of Saint Aimilianos, in an altitude of 155 m, while its new one started taking shape in the nineteenth century, close to the harbor. A second, natural harbor is formed in the Sarakiniko Bay, in the west side of the island. Items dating from the Late Hellenistic, Roman and Early Byzantine era have been surveyed on Kastos. The Ionian islands Kalamos and Kastos have never been devastated and present a regular and continuous habitation from the Late Neolithic to our time. This fact is mainly due to their geographic position and to the importance of the sea-route, in which they are located, connecting Italy with the Ionian Sea and the coast of Epirus with Western Akamania, the Ionian Islands and the Peloponnese. The systematic study of the old, ruined today, settlements of these islands, which still preserve, almost intact, many remnants of their past, will provide us with data and information useful for the research.