Krokean stone at the mosaic of a church in Rome

From a geological point of view, the Krokean stone is a dark green porphyritic stone flecked with light-coloured rectangular crystals. In ancient Greece, these pieces were called “krokes”, meaning the small sea pebbles, which gave their name to the area where the rock can be found, Krokees. What’s more important though is that Krokean stone can only be found in the area of Krokees, from the village to Stefania, at the site of Psifi, where the ancient quarries are also to be found.

The volcanic stone which resembles a mosaic was very popular among the Mycenaeans, though difficult to be processed. They used it for baths, pottery and seals. The stone was used during prehistoric times mainly for the creation of elaborate vessels and intaglios with fine depictions of animals usually. In Roman times it was extracted mainly to be used as building material. The Romans used it for luxurious structures, especially for their baths, which were part of every big house or city, when they were public. Pieces of the rock can be seen at the Vatican.

In antiquity the Krokean stone was used for pottery and seals, for the decoration of buildings, baths and graves. Artifacts made of Krokean stone have been found in the acropolis of Mycenae and during the excavations at the Palace of King Minos, in Knossos.

In Rome visitors can easily spot Krokean stone in artistic decorative paintings of the Archaeological Museum of Palazzp Massimo, in the basilicas of Saint Peter and Santa Maria Maggiore and other luxurious buildings.

Giannis Pikoulas