This naturally fortified spot was an ideal place for the Spartan colonists to found their city, and they built two roads, one to the beach at Kamari, where they had their port (ancient Oia), and the other to Perissa. The strategic location of the town was appreciated later by the Ptolemies. In the 4th century BC, the most important era in the history of the island, Ancient Thera was transformed into an Egyptian naval base with the installation there of a large garrison.
Excavations in the area have brought to light a Hellenistic settlement that stretched from northwest to southeast. It was about 800 metres long and its greatest width was 150 metres. It was split in two by a central street, from which many side-streets branched off. Because of the sloping terrain, many of the alleyways were stepped. All the streets were paved with flagstones, while the drainage system consisted of a network of covered channels. Of the buildings that have been discovered, the public ones were constructed of dressed limestone blocks, a material found in abundance on the island, while private houses were made of small stones of irregular shape. The public buildings and the sanctuaries lie to the right and left of the main street. The private houses are clustered in two neighbourhoods, one of which ascends the west side of the mountain, the other the east.
Photo Gallery of Santorini Map Airports
Click to on Photo for Next Santorini Map Airports Images
The excavations have also brought to light two cemeteries, one on the southwest slope of Sellada, the other at the foot of the cliffs of Mesa Vouno.
Both were in use during the Geometric period and down to the mid 7th century BC. The cemetery used in the 6th, 5th and centuries I3C has been found on the northeast slope of Sellada. The older graves, as a rule, are to be found higher up than the later ones. Observing I he same burial rites as the Dorians of Melos and < aete, the Therans used to cremate their dead. They would put the ashes in a special funerary urn made for the purpose and then place the urn along with libations inside the family tomb. In some cases, however, the corpse was simply buried without being cremated.
A Hellenistic female bead of outstanding craftsmanship (Fira Archaeological Museum).