When the author of this volume visited the
1996 as head of the Ephorate of Cyclades, had the opportunity to survey
numerous sites indicated to me by Th. Katsaros. At the same time, he spotted
new prehistoric sites in the west and east parts of the island, and he observed
that the northeast side and, more importantly, the area between Ag. Kirikos and
Faros, features the largest amount of prehistoric sites (Fig. 1). island of Ikaria
In 2004, he started a systematic survey of the island with students of the University of the
Aegean and he
located more than 20 sites. In the area between Ag. Kirikos and Faros he
located five sites which, judging from the type of stone industry, could be
dated to the pre-neolithic period. This is exceptionally important because so
far no findings of that age had ever been located in the eastern Aegean
Sea or in the coast of Asia
Minor which lies across. It must be stressed that no
pottery was spotted in any of these sites.
The excavation at Kerame
In the summer of 2007, the excavation in the most significant of the five pre-neolithic sites was initiated. The site is called Kerame and is situated next to the sea on a rocky peninsula, an area of 5000m2 (Fig. 15, 16, Pl. 14, 16).
The project's purpose was to clarify the prehistoric occupation sequence in the
from the Mesolithic to the Late
Neolithic, with emphasis on issues of subsistence strategies and contacts with
the rest of the island of Ikaria Aegean and Asia
project also intended to enrich our knowledge on the palaeoenvironment, and to
detect phenomena such as sea level changes, regional palaeogeomorphology and
climatic conditions. The
reconstruction of the palaeoenvironment i.e. the eustatic and isostatic
parameters influencing sea level changes per period, the climatic conditions,
the sea depths; all drive us to crucial questions also concerning seafaring,
navigation methods, trade routes, etc.
In 2007, nine trenches were dug, most of which faced towards the sea. Although surface findings are found everywhere in the area, the majority was unearthed from trenches C, D, and E (Fig. 16, 18-24, Pl. 17-23)). More often than not upper layers feature a large quantity of stone tools of obsidian and flint, whereas in lower layers findings are scarcer. Four trenches were dug until the rock formation, 0.80 -0.90m deep. No clear construction remnants were found but for limestone slabs that probably formed constructions that were ruined due to the intense cultivation of the site in the past. Still, it would be unnatural for significant architectural remnants to be found, as at the time constructs consisted mainly of base material such as wood and grass, which, however, leave no signs.
In 2008 the Mesolithic site was dug further as four new trenches were opened and some of them opened in 2007 that were left unfinished were dug further. In the SW corner in the 3rd layer of trench G a large grouping of stones was found that are reminiscent of a stoned pavement, whereas in the SE corner no stones were unearthed and the soil was soft. In the fourth layer of the trench, at its northern side, large stones came to surface, and the artifacts were considerably fewer.
North of trench G, trench I was opened, measuring 4X3m, and the first two layers featured many obsidian and flint stone artifacts. At the depth of 0,30m large stones were found, which, however, do not seem to belong to larger structures.
Trench H and I were further dug, unearthing a layer of pebbles in which no artifacts were found. A new trench J which was opened to the north of trench G gave a lot of lithic artifacts. Trench K was opened at the northernmost part of the settlement in an area of downward inclination where the deposits were soft and stone-free. The artifacts were far less than expected and it seems that, even though the stone artifacts exist in an area of 4.000 m2, they are mostly concentrated at the flat eastern part of the site, which must have served as the westernmost part of the settlement. Trenches C and E were also dug further in order to observe the expanse of the stones they contained.
Furthermore, in the same area rather large stones were concentrated without, however, constituting structures’ foundations or other structures. In trenches C and E, however, stone formations could in all probability belong to structures already ruined by cultivation practices (Fig. 20). It can be assumed that only the westernmost part of the site has been preserved, while its main part was ruined by erosion and the fall of rocks in the sea.
Moreover, the profiles of the trenches were designed and it was observed that the layers feature the same continuation. Three layers were found (Fig. 21, 23), among which the thickest (0.20-0.30m) consists of pure brown soil, followed by the second thickest (0.30m) which consists of light brown soil and small- or big-size stones, and the third one mainly consists of pebbles.
During the digging process, Dr. J. Basiakos, geologist at Nuclear Center of Demokritos, performed a geological study of the site, and samples were extracted from the two upper layers of trenches C and D to be dated using Optical Luminesence. Three charcoal samples that were extracted by Dr. G. Facorellis from trenches G and I showed that they were of younger age.
The lithic industry
Τhe lithic material are studied by J.
Kozlowski και M. Kaczanowska. From the beginning was evident that
the stone industry of the site is extremely similar to the Mesolithic
settlement of Maroulas, Kythnos (Sampson et al. 2002, 45). The lithic inventory was large and
homogenous in terms of technology and typology. In all trenches a total of 4000
artifacts including obsidian, flint, quartz, quartzite, rhyolite and hematite.
The identification of Melian obsidian and obsidian from the (Pl.
22) seems unquestionable, especially as on the neigbouring island of Yali the
occurence of obsidian has not been confirmed. Quartz and quartzite are
undoubtedly local contained within the shales as veines in the vicinity of the
site. Fourni Islands
Tool categories and types are similar to those at the sites of Cycladic Mesolithic, however the quantitative proportions of the various categories are different. At Kerame retouched flakes and denticulate-notched tools predominate (28.9%, Fig. 28). The proportions of microliths (backed pieces, truncations, and geometric microliths), perforators and becs and end-scrapers are almost equal: from 15.2% to 18.1% (Fig. 27). Other tool categories are less numerous, namely: side-scrapers, retouched blades, raclettes, combined tool (end-scrapers/truncations, end-scrapers/perforators, end-scrapers and perforators combined with denticulated-notched tools etc). The proportion of retouched tools on blades is low (15.2%) in comparison with tools on flakes. Some tools are made on cores, splintered pieces and stone plaquettes.
The similar structure of retouched tools indicates similar activities in the camps, while the stylistic similarity of debitage and retouched tools confirms that the inhabitants of the site belonged to the same cultural tradition.
Of importance for the interpretation of the site is the evidence of scatter-patterns, namely the horizontal distribution of lithic artifacts in the various trenches dug in the areas where artifacts occur on the surface. The biggest number of artifacts concentrated above the cliff, in the belt of trenches C, D, E, G, I (Fig. 16). The trenches located further to the west (F, B) and east (L) provided notably fewer artifacts. The trenches located further to the north of the cliff also contained fewer artifacts.
The Mesolithic sites of Ikaria are exceptionally important to the prehistory of the Aegean, because, second only to the Mesolithic site of Maroulas in Kythnos, Ikaria is an island that features outdoor habitation so early, and it is the third island in the Aegean basin that features pre-neolithic findings. Certainly other sites dating to the same era would also be situated in the
due to the rise of the sea level since then (40-50m) most of these sites are
probably not accessible. More importantly, so old sites have never been found
so far in the eastern Aegean and
the coast of Asia Minor.
The fact that five sites featuring Mesolithic stone industry have been spotted, as well as others from the Neolithic, is indicative of a network of sites and not just a casual usage of the area. Kerame is put forward as the major site of the Mesolithic, while others seem to be of limited expanse Indeed, the settlement spans over an unusually large area, much more extensive than in Maroulas; this would even have been larger if we add to it the eroded segment of the peninsula. It is not therefore a small camp site, but a real settlement given the circumstances of the time. Furthermore, the Mesolithic Ikaria model bears similarities to Kythnos’, but also to Kandia’s settlement model, in east
Argolis, which recently gave Mesolithic tools in caves and outdoor sites (JFA 18.2 (2005), 259-285).
It is strikingly odd that the stone tools found in these sites bear remarkable similarities to the ones found in the site of Maroulas in Kythnos, excavated by the author in the past few years. Maroulas is so far the sole Mesolithic settlement investigated in the
Aegean (Sampson et al. 2010) Although this was partly destroyed, many circular
constructions were unveiled, as well as paved areas and 27 burials. The
settlement, according to many charcoal samples, dates exceptionally early (8800-8700 BC calibrated) and seems to be older than and Franchthi Cave on Youra. Τhe author conducted excavation projects for five
years in the Cave of Cyclops on the island of Youra (Sampson 2008, 2011), and
there he located for the first time undisturbed Mesolithic layers in the Aegean
area. Forty dates established a basis for the Aegean Mesolithic chronology,
dividing this period in two parts, Lower and Upper Mesolithic. Cyclops Cave
These similarities help to be established a comparative dating pattern in the Early Mesolithic and may attest to contacts and movements in the
such an early time. The similarity between the stone industry of Ikaria and
Kythnos’ may lead to the assumption that the alleged sea route existed since
the 9th mill. BC (Fig. 30), connecting the two sides of the Aegean along
the sea currents and the chain of the Cycladic islands ( Andros, Tenos, Mykonos, Ikaria, Samos).
As for the absolute chronology of the site, it has been impossible to be collected reliable charcoal samples; however, obsidian artefacts from Kerame analysed by the new SIMS-SS method (Liritzis & Laskaris 2012) gave radiometric determinations, which suggest that Kerame and Maroulas on Kythnos were contemporaneous (beginning of 9th mill BC).
Excavations at Nifi 1
In Nifi, very close to the pre-neolithic site 4 and next to the sea (Pl. 28), a segment of a Late Neolithic settlement is preserved featuring remnants from rectangular buildings and pottery. Moreover, further smaller neolithic sites have been located along the NE coast of the island on eroded capes. It is stressed that all the Neolithic and pre-neolithic sites, except for the one in Glaredo, are situated close to the coast and face a considerably close sea area which is confined by
Ikaria and Samos in the
north, and the islands of Fourni. Research
in the area aimed to study the succession of phases from the end of Mesolithic
to Late Neolithic in a corner of the Aegean Sea where no light had been shed so
far, and describe a singular closed Neolithic economy, which was manifested by
unusual constructions that stick to traditional forms of dwelling.
In Nifi was dug the part of the Neolithic settlement that was left, its largest part having already fallen in the sea. A detailed grid was designed and the area was divided in 1 m2 squares (Fig. 31). At the NE corner of the site (sector A) three walls from a Neolithic building were dug and an open bowl was found intact in situ. In sector B, a thick destruction layer was spotted containing plenty of pottery and intact vases (Pl. 32-34). Only the upper part of this layer was surveyed.
In sector C a rectangular room was unearthed and its four well-preserved walls. The building measures externally 4.60X3.40 m. (Pl. 30, 31). The great thickness of the eastern wall (0.75 m.) is impressive, probably owing to the downward inclination of the site at this point. Due to the extensive erosion the walls were of small height. Additionally, a stone pavement consisting of small-size stones was found, which covers the largest part of the room. The pottery inside the building was scarce, mainly comprising cheese-pot vase fragments that date from the Late Neolithic.
In the course of the 2009 season, excavation continued in squares D 7, 8 and 9 on the site of Nifi, where in 2008, part of a Neolithic settlement was uncovered. This specific area produced prolific pottery at several depths. It probably forms a destruction level, which however, does not seem to correspond to a specific building. Remains of walls exist at a higher level, as well as a rectangular structure with upright slabs of unknown purpose. In square E8 and at 0.40m, an oval millstone (Fig. 36) from granite was found, as well as limited pottery. At a lower level (0.60m) pottery increased and belonged to big closed vessels. This level, from dark soil and small stones, was very hard and contained scarce scattered burnings. A third level of the same nature and even harder contained numerous pottery, from both small and large pots. In this level, numerous coarse vessels and a complete cup (Pl. 33, Fig. 32: 7-10), together with fragments from other three cups, were found in 2008.
Excavation lasted for several days and abundant pottery was collected, mostly plain wares. Scarce were sherds with black slip, belonging to small closed pots. Sherds from large vessels bore incised decoration from bands of lines or angles. Generally, pottery was frisky, due to incomplete firing. Melian obsidian, as was observed in 2008, was also scarce.
On the whole, the pottery of the site is unburnished and coarse and few sherds feature coating and burnish (Fig. 35). The cheese-pots (Fig. 33:23) and some typical lugs bear similarities to the pottery of
(Tigani) and they probably date in the 4th mill. BC. The pottery shares also similarities with the NE Aegean islands
and the Dodecanese, another area where
the author has excavated Neolithic settlements and caves (Sampson 1987), when he
was appointed by the Service of Antiquities to work at that region (1976-1981),
and later (since 1986 onwards) when he
undertook the direction of the Neolithic Project of the island of Yali (Sampson 1988).
The large amount of pottery allowed for a typology which proves chronologically distant from the ceramic sequence of the
(Saliagos, Ftelia) and eastern Aegean
(Emporio Chios, Tigani Samos). The existence of three fragments of cheese does
not constitute a chronological criterion for this specific site and generally
for the eastern Aegean, where
this type of pottery appears later or has longer duration, while in the Cyclades it has
been dated already from the beginnings of the 5th millennium BC.
The same appears to hold true in the
cheese pots appear in the later phases of the Neolithic (Yali Nissiros,
Partheni on Leros). The large open bowl and the one handle cup from Nifi bear
strong resemblance with one handled cup from the islet of Alimnia near Rhodes
(Sampson 1987, fig. 102:33), the pottery of which has been dated in the last
phase of the Neolithic (Terminal Neolithic). Resemblances also exist with bowls
from Partheni on Leros. An AMS date
from Nifi (4490±25 BP) confirms the late dating of the site. Nifi seems to
constitute one of the few sites of such a late date, like on Youra
(3652-3527 BC), Cyclops Cave (3757-3640
BC), Sarakenos Cave on Tharrounia Cave Euboea (3666-3517
BC) and Kephala on Keos (3710-3380 BC).
It was observed that the obsidian stone artifacts in Nifi were rather few compared with the abundant pottery, and in other Neolithic sites on the island, in the inner part of the island and at a higher altitude, the obsidian abounds far more compared with the pottery. However, owing to the fact that the area dug so far is limited, the sample cannot be representative.
Excavations at Glaredo
The area of Glaredo is located at a semi-mountainous region in the SE part of the island and has preserved singular circular buildings (Fig. 36). Pottery and arrowheads collected in the past are similar to those found in the Neolithic settlement of Saliagos on Antiparos and Ftelia on
Mykonos. The site of Palioperivolos (Fig. 37), some
kilometers southwest of Nifi, dates also to Late Neolithic; the site was
recently unearthed following a big fire that burned down the forest completely.
In this area twenty circular or ellipsoid constructions
have been spotted which are built in a neolithic deposit. In 2009 excavation
started at the site Palioperivolos. Research in the area aimed to study the singular closed Neolithic
economy which was manifested
by unusual constructions that stick to traditional forms of dwelling and identify possible similarities
or dissimilarities compared to the already dug neolithic site in Nifi.
Work at the site has been strenuous, on the one hand because the area was not easily accessible and on the other hand because of the dense vegetation covering the structures.
After shrubs and short trees had been removed from two terraces where structures had been spotted, unearthing of the structures commenced. Building 1 is circular with a diameter of 3.70 m. and consists of big granite blocks, in upright position, while some have been removed from original position (Fig. 38, Pl. 41). The megalithic nature of this structure is unusual while upright blocks underline the possible existence of a supra-structure. An opening on the south side must have served the entrance. The finds from the area of the building were very few, some obsidian blades and two grinders, but we have to take into consideration that, due to the inclination of the terrain, as well as heavy erosion, deposits have been washed off. A trench opened on the east side produced no finds and reached hard virgin soil.
In a more spacious terrace, NW of building 1, a large elliptical building (building 2) was uncovered with internal dimensions of 6.50 by 4.10m (Fig. 39, Pl. 42-44). The west, east and south sides are preserved in a good state, with fairly good quality of masonry from unworked stone. The walls are about 60 centimeters wide, yet the NE wall is considerably wider. The wall seems stronger at the south and southeast, where the entrance, judging by the flat stones at the spot and one vertically positioned, probably the door posts. It is observed that at the south and north part, the interior flank of the wall is marked by upright slabs, while other upright slabs have also been added. The walls are preserved usually at 0.20-0.30m height, however in the north and northwest side they reach 0.40- 0.50m.
Roughly in the centre of the building, a stratigraphical trench was dug, 1.00 by 0.80m, which reached the depth of 0.60m: down to 0.30m, soil was dark brown, because of the roots growing in the interior of the building. Within the layer, a lot of obsidian blades were discovered, a few neolithic sherds, badly worn, as well as a grinders and two millstones of granite. Beneath this layer, a sub- yellow soil existed, 0.30m thick, which produced few fragments of obsidian. More pottery and blades are found at lower areas, below buildings 1 and 2, which obviously have rolled from higher areas.
Despite the difficulties due to the thick vegetation a systematic ground research was carried out in an extensive area which featured considerable amounts of obsidian and Neolithic sherds with rounded edges, indicating they had been rolled. In the same area, stone axes, querns (Pl. 45) and arrowheads have been collected from locals previously, now exhibited in the Ag. Kyrikos museum. It is characteristic that nowhere in the area, has modern or historic period pottery been found.
In any case, the two buildings are not the only ones in the area. After the catastrophic fire of 1996, when the area has been completely deforested, other structures have also appeared, mainly circular but rectangular also. Although locals witness for the existence of about 40 structures, we have been able to locate and topographically document another eight, the dimensions and construction of which resemble building 1. Building 2 is so far the largest and occupies an extensive terrace. Single straight walls have also been located, some of them considerably sturdy.
Building 1 can be considered a large residence, while building 2, as well as the others with megalithic masonry, may have served different purposes. This type of habitation is unique in the Aegean area of the time and is indicative of a parochial attitude, and persistence in the heritage of the circular type of habitation that is seen in
the Near East
already since the 10th millenium BC (Rosenberg 1999; Stordeur 1996) and in the Aegean since
the beginning of 9th mill BC (Kythnos). Although
the site is not distant from the sea, the mountainous landscape hints to other
forms of subsistence, like that of animal husbandry, reversely from the coastal
site of Nifi, the subsistence of which was based mainly on marine activities.
Pottery found on site is different from that at Nifi and obviously dates to a different phase, certainly older, judging by the arrowheads, typical of “Saliagos- Ftelia” phase (beginning of 5th mill BC). Pottery is always hard- fired and belongs to large coarse vessels (Fig. 40).
Archaeological research at the highlands of Ikaria
In this area, with an altitude of 900m where many rock shelters occur, it appears to exist a long held tradition of animal husbandry (Fig. 41). In some of these rock shelters were found Neolithic pottery and numerous pieces of obsidian (Fig. 8, Pl. 7a, b). It is noted that the obsidian artifacts in this mountainous area are more abundant than what has already been found in the Neolithic sites of Nifi and Glaredo. At the site Afediki, where a large number of pottery and obsidian artifacts have been found in the surface around a complex of rock shelters we performed a trial dig trench on a rock shelter. However, the sediments were very thin and neither constructions were found nor pottery. Neolithic pottery and obsidian was also collected in front of a rock shelter at the area of Zizokampos (Fig. 54) and at the area Pinaki near the village Trapalou, where numerous fallen rocks of granite have created caves and rock shelters (Fig. 8, 13).
The surface surveys for the Neolithic sites in the highlands of Ikaria revealed material which has remarkable similarities with Ftelia on Mykonos (Sampson 2002), where the applicant has for many years excavated a big Neolithic settlement. Τhe site of Ftelia has exhibited considerable cultural affiliations with the area of
the author has for
long studied the Neolithic through
research projects in more than 120 sites. In the area of central Euboea, the
excavation of the cave Skoteini at the village of Tharrounia (Sampson 1993) has
yielded excellent stratigraphic information
on the sequence of the Late Neolithic, which provided a good correlation basis
for the Neolithic research of the whole South Greece then onwards.
THE ETHNOARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH AT
The feature of
Ikaria is a fully harbourless island, very mountainous with
a mountain traverse along the island at an altitude of around 1000 meters. The
lack of ports on the one hand and the availability of arable land, abundant
water and good pasture on the other turned the island's economy away from the
sea so to create an introspection that has continued from ancient times until
today. The dense vegetation of Ikaria and the presence of high and steep mountains
contributed to the creation of regular isolation during the Byzantine and
post-Byzantine times, leading for a long time to the opinion that the island
was uninhabited. The defense against pirates in those dark centuries was
natural to rely on concealment and isolation rather than fortification. The
people chose to tactics of hiding in the forested mountainous environment of
the island and not to barricade themselves in places that were visible from the
sea and thus vulnerable to attacks which happened in many Aegean islands with
There is no information about the existence of settlements before the 17th century and probably Pamphilis’ view (1980), that after the Franks the island had no significant settlement and residents settle together in scattered houses which later became permanent hamlets so called ' spitokathismata ', seems to be correct.
The Ikarian society from its beginning, in the turbulent times of the Turkish occupation to date, based on a rural household economy. The farmland surrounded the home while within this area there was the garden for vegetables that were irrigated, the farmland for cereals, vines and trees.
The wheat sowed by the Ikarians was not enough to feed its population of over half a year, so they had to obtain it from other islands, such as
Chios, making barter trade. Main source of supply of barley
was the neighboring Mykonos from which porks and donkeys for agricultural work
were transferred to Ikaria.
With all aspects of livestock on the island have been extensively studied by A. Kapetanios in his doctoral dissertation (2011) by comparison with
Crete and highlands. My observations on this matter are based on multiple visits of mine in the highlands of western
Epirus Ikaria and the information gathered from the old and young
Watching the rock shelters in the highlands of the island and collecting excavation or surface material someone could say that the use of these shelters was diachronic starting from the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age, including the ancient historical period, and arriving in medieval times and the Ottoman era. However, the findings in the highlands of
Ikaria usually present a gap after the Neolithic period
which is unexplicable. The pottery of the Bronze Age is in general rare and
only in one case Mycenaean sherds were observed in Afediki area. Also rare is
the pottery of classical and hellenistic period in the highlands. However, Ikaria is a rare case of island that in the same places
coexist findings and structures and show similar pastoral practices of the
Neolithic period and modern times. Thus, with the study of animal management in
the island of Ikaria in recent times possibly a picture of the economy of the
inhabitants in prehistoric and historic times becomes feasible, although the
usual ethnoarchaeological approach based on proportions (Binford 1967, 1978;
Nandris 1982; Eustratiou 1982, 1993) is not always a safe method.
What is particularly interesting is that in
This kind of husbandry was established and in other islands such as in parts of
Euboea, at Kythnos, Halki, Naxos, Ag. Efstratios etc. where pasturing goats exist. In
Ag. Efstratios, for example, earlier and in recent years 9000 animals graze
freely which are controlled by nine stock breeders but during the season of
cheese making gather the animals and milk them. In the past the number of
animals was the same, but were more breeders .
The lack of wildlife that could threaten the herds, the difference in climate and socioeconomic conditions separate the mainland from the island's animal management and enable farmers to invest their work differently and so they can have more options to schedule specific tasks (Kapetanios 2011). Following the division into three chronological phases of the management of animals in Greece (Kapetanios 2011 , 85) the longest period (phase I) starts from 15th to 16th century and covers a period of four centuries until the incorporation of Ikaria to Greece in 1913 .
The great development of herding probably started in the 16th century as all the foreign travellers refer to the very good pasture on the island that was exploited by the Samians. We cannot be sure if this statement is completely true but we believe that the local population had the control of animal exploitation .
The domesticated herding (“kopadiariki”), although today is rare, previously used to be the norm of a mixed productive economy practiced by the inhabitants. Today the deserted pens (“mantrokathismata") in Pezi witness a controlled management of animals from families that probably had agriculture as a second occupation. The animals, even in small flocks, were a stock of great value for the family.
Ikarian habitation model was based on a nuclear building, the "spitokathisma" or “spitogyros", which included a residence in the type of “chito”, store rooms, choirokouma", "chostokeli", threshing floor, winepress and oil mill. The gathering of more than one similar unit was a settlement which usually was surrounded by a wall, while the walls of the houses gradually were abolished. It is natural that these core properties belonged to people with blood ties between them or to an extended family. This creates a great amount of settlements of
Ikaria especially in northern and western side.
Ikaria someone could catch a space in order to built a
“spitokathisma” and enclose an area for cultivation. Someone could also
construct a “mantrostasi” acquiring the right to use a large area around it for
grazing. When the buildings were abandoned the land and the constructions were
free and could be used by someone else.
Walls surrounding large areas or dividing pastures are located in the mountains of
Ikaria slopes or plateaus. In Erifi and Pezi enclosed areas
are called “fraximia” (Pl. 43, 44) and used for cultivation. In other cases
these fences define housing units in settlements that today have been abandoned
such as Langada. Several times there were walls protecting small cultivated
areas such as vines, important trees or
beehives and controlling the mobility of animals. There are also Ikaria walls along the canyons or along streams used to
capture the wild goats (“agriomantres”).
The construction of these walls is simple and does not have anything special. The reason is that building material available in the island as granite and limestone is not suitable for building as schist in the
Cyclades. Simple construction also present the walls holding
the soil and creating terraces for cultivation. Compared to other islands of
the Aegean as in Cyclades or Dodecanese, where terraces have been constructed even in steep
mountain slopes, in Ikaria due to the large forest vegetation occur in some
particular areas (Pl. 42). However, the vegetation of Ikaria hides old terraces that operated in the periods when
the ground was cleared by fire.
Many structures are preserved in Afediki area located just above Pezi (Fig. 42-48, pl. 53-57). The area is dominated by large volumes of granite of various shapes ("louroi"), which by the way they are fitted by nature form small or large shaded areas (rock shelters). In many cases the rock shelters were expanded by building walls so as to create rooms.
In Afediki (Fig. 43, pl. 53) a huge volume of rock that has sat on another creates large shaded area that with the addition of a well constructed wall was used as a residence or cheese making. Adjacent created and other constructions that comprise a pen (“mantra”), while other areas fenced with wire show that the pen was working until recently.
Another property (6) is attached to two successive granitic rocks. Built with small flat stones saves the lintel and part of the roof (Fig. 47). Circular structures under rocks because of the low amount were used mainly for livestock. In most of these rockshelters case was found an abundance of Neolithic pottery and obsidian.
Other characteristic structures in Afediki observed at several points are low walls beneath rocks were used as refrigerators to store meat or other food; they are exposed to northerly winds while the masonry consists of stones built in purpose to pass the air through them.
On the plateau Sarantiadon, located west of the fenced areas also exist deserted pens in various ground plans (Fig. 49-51, Pl. 55, 56) but fewer rock shelters. At higher altitude in Zizokampos a forested plateau traversed by small streams was in use until recently. The vegetation consists of oaks that have become large trees. Even at the end of July some streams still held water. The few pens in this area are near streams and in shady areas (Fig. 11, pl. 64-65).
HIDDEN SETTLEMENTS IN
The study of the old abandoned settlements such as Koumaro, Lagada, Ventoureika, Ag. Savvas, Kampa, Ventourospita and some others have a particular significance. Small houses are joined for some particular reason in places hidden from the sea. Usually in the same place larger and smaller dwellings coexist, and the fact is probably attributed to some class differences.
The model in Koumaro is unusual is with scattered houses in the area; however, this is about a settlement that has medieval origins and is beyond the Ikarian standards. In Koumaro the standard form of the "chito" house type that we meet later does not exist, although in some buildings there are features that later occur in the characteristic type of Ikarian residence.
It is about a mountainous area south of the
. Isidore in an altitude 650-600 m. (Fig. 56, pl. 82).
In a sloping basin that is well hidden and not visible from the sea the
scattered relics of houses are dated to the turbulent times of the late
medieval or early years of Ottoman rule. This wooded area is traversed by
streams that have eroded in a great extent the land. A paved path leads (Pl. 83)
starting from the church of Ag . Isidore leads to Koumaro and continues through the
mountains to the seashore; this is part of the old path that connected the
village Karkinagri with Raches. church of Ag
Everywhere are seen damaged terraces for cultivation and show that many centuries have passed since the use of the area. There are also threshing floors and olive presses in an unusual and primitive type (Pl. 92). The architectural type of the buildings is unusual in
Ikaria and comprises a room with a sloping roof and
sometimes a vestibule (Fig. 58, 60, 61). In some case a second smaller room exists.
The site Mavri or Ellinika is located near the
westernmost tip of cape Papas Ikaria. At
this point lies a not so safe anchorage protected from the northerly winds.
Huge rock volumes (“louroi”) create an unreal landscape (Pl. 95-97). In summer
the area is very hot, while during the winter is suitable for transhumance of
shepherds (“himadio”). The cavities created on the rocks by the rain and the
wind are called in Ikaria “kamares” and were used appropriately as shelters and
entire houses (Pl. 95-97). In some cases the residence has two floors and
includes fireplaces, stoves and built beds.
In medieval times and during the turkish occupation the area was inhabited by locals who wanted to hide themselves or by pirates who used Mavri as a base to attack passing ships However, the area is called Ellinika which means that those who lived there were considered indigenous unlike other immigrants who came from other places.
The old settlement of Lagada has special architectural interest because of the characteristic type of houses. The site is located in a dense forest descending from Pezi to Vrakades. These low one-room houses (Fig. 62), with dim. 2.50X 3.00 or 3.00X4.00 m, that in
called " ” have
a sloping pitched roof covered with slabs. chita
In Langada there are also two room houses some of which have a second floor (Pl. 99). This type began to appear in the early 19th century and shows prosperity of the island's trade and the expanding of coal making. These houses that were called “towers” had gabled roofs.
Ventourospita is a small settlement of post-Byzantine times (probably of the 17th century) which lies at a low altitude near a ravine not far from the airport (Fig. 5). Apparently the settlement belonged to families with blood ties between them. Although not far from the sea, the place is very well chosen and offers concealment. Apart the ravine which should preserve water in winter, the area is quite bare of vegetation with exposed limestone rock everywhere. The areas for cultivation are few, but everywhere there are olive trees that would yield a good production of olive oil.
The houses belong to the type of "chito" and are built with dry limestone and based on the rock (Fig. 64-67, Pl. 102-106). These houses are roofed with limestone slabs placed on beams and planks.
The location of the other hidden settlement of Agios Savvas is next to the road leading from the airport to the village Perdiki (Fig. 69, 70). Small properties being in contact each other have been built on a steep slope that leads to deep ravine (Fig. 71, 72, Pl.111, 113-115). On a plateau a large and well constructed house in “chito” type dominates the small properties. Apart this house the other have small dimensions and belong to the “chito” type. The settlement is completely hidden from the sea and the houses are not seen even from the nearby road. From Ag. Savvas there is visual contact with the Byzantine castle of Kefalas (Pl. 109). Terraces for cultivation are seen on both sides of the ravine, while vertical walls separate properties for pasture. One problem is the dating of the settlement due to lack of data, since neither the chronology of the
Savvas is known because it has been renovated in recent years. Certainly the
settlement dates back to the last centuries of Turkish rule and had a long
duration. Judging from the bad condition of the buildings someone could say
that the Ventourospita settlement is somewhat older. The architectural style of
the “chito" that dominates in both areas and the front hiding wall is an
evidence of dating and leads us to a time when there was uncertainty in the church of Ag Aegean (late
16th - mid 17th century).