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 ARCHAELOGICAL SETTLEMENT AT DIMINI

ΑΡΧΑΙΟΛΟΓΙΚΟΣ ΧΩΡΟΣ ΔΙΜΗΝΙΟΥ

   

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NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENT

Dimini is a large, well – organized settlement that was first occupied in the Late Neolithic period (end of the 5 th millennium). It has been reckoned that there were 200, or the most 300 inhabitants. The architectural remains, covering an area not greater than 7.5 acres on the hill, offer a picture of an organized Neolithic community, with a unique architectural feature: the six stone-built enclosure walls, constructed in pairs around the settlement. The first two define the main courtyard-square, and at the same time act as retaining walls supporting the houses in the main court. All the houses are located either around this main court, or in the area created between the pairs of enclosure walls. The houses in the settlement are large, and have ancillary structures alongside them, leaving an uncovered space between that was used as a common courtyard.

Amongst the finds from the excavations are many stone and bone tools, abundant pottery, and also figurines and jewellery. Dimini was abandoned at the beginning of the 3 rd millennium, and only a farm-building – the megaron in the main court – continued to be used, by a big stack – raising and farming family.

MYCENAEAN SETTLEMENT - IOLKOS

In 1980, an important Mycenaean settlement covering an area of over 25 acres was discovered to the south – east of the hill with the Neolithic remains, in the plain towards the sea. According to the latest opinion, this city is to be identified with Mycenaean Iolkos.

The remains of this settlement uncovered so far include independent, private Mycenaean houses, of megaron type, all with the same orientation and erected either side of a wide street, and three more, similar houses slightly longer than these. A particularly large pottery kiln and another workshop have been found on the edge of the settlement.

The centre of this settlement was without doubt on the hill with the Neolithic remains, where the foundations are preserved of a large Mycenaean megaron on the south-west edge of the main court, in a dominating position overlooking the entire Gulf of Pagasae .

The two large Mycenaean tholos tombs found at Dimini at the beginning of the century may now be certainly attributed to the kings of Iolkos.

Recent excavations have demonstrated that Dimini was not abandoned at the end of the Neolithic period, but continued to be inhabited for a considerable time, until the end of the Bronze Age. The first Mycenaean houses were built in the middle of the 15 th c. BC, replacing the earlier Middle Helladic megara.

In the 14 th and 13 th c. BC, Iolkos became an organised city and attained the height of its prosperity, and the city was abandoned again in the 12 th c. BC, due to some unknown cause, the site only being reoccupied once more in the modern period

D imini has provided the most complete picture of a Neolithic settlement up to now. The archaeological site was initially known for the remains of a Neolithic settlement on the hill. The pottery found there the dating basis for the Late Neolithic sub periods in the whole Hellenic area. The use of the enclosures (periboloi) surrounding the settlement has been particularly discussed.

N owadays, apart from the Neolithic settlement (5th millennium B.C.), a very important large Mycenaean settlement has been discovered, which has been identified as ancient Iolkos, the city of Jason . A well-constructed wide road and many houses have been brought to light. The excavations of this settlement are still in process. E xcavations in the Neolithic settlement took place at the beginning of the century by V. Stais and Chr. Tsountas (1901-1903). The excavation of the tholos tomb on the hill took place in 1901 by V. Stais. The Mycenaean tholos tomb (known as "Lamiospito") was excavated in 1886 by Lolling and Wolters. In 1977 Prof. G. Chourmouziadis continued the excavation of the Neolithic settlement. The excavation of the Mycenaean settlement started in 1980 by V. Adrymi-Sismani and is still being continued.

T he well-organized Late Neolithic settlement. It lies 5 km. SW of Volos and follows a primitive town-planning. The area uncovered is extensive; houses were excavated on the hill, surrounded by enclosure walls, built in pairs around the hill. The settlement was inhabited from the end of the 5th millennium B.C. onwards. The M ycenaean settlement SW of the hill, the large settlement occupies an area of more than 25 acres and has been identified by the excavator with ancient Iolkos. "Megaroid" houses were built with the same orientation on either side of a wide street. The settlement is dated to the 15-12th centuries B.C.

M ycenean tholos. It lies NW of the hill with the Neolithic settlement and should be attributed to the kings of the Mycenean settlement. It is large, well-built, with a relieving triangle and a built larnax inside the chamber. The upper part of the structure has collapsed. It is dated to the Late Helladic IIIB2 period (second half of the 13th century B.C.).
M ycenean tholos ("Lamiospito"). It lies 300 m. west of the hill of the Neolithic settlement and is preserved in rather good condition. Even though it was plundered, it yielded rich finds, such as gold jewellery, beads and necklaces of glass-paste, ivory items and bronze weapons. It is dated to the Late Helladic IIIA2 period (second half of the 14th century B.C.).

 

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