Lefkandi project website
Lefkandi is a key site in the Aegean during both the Bronze and Iron
Age. The ancient settlement on Xeropolis is a tell which was occupied without
break from the Early Bronze Age (c.
2100 BC) to the end of the Iron Age (c.
700 BC). The site is located between two well-known ancient cities, Chalcis and
Eretria on the island of Euboea. Xeropolis was first excavated in 1964 under
the direction of Mervyn Popham and Hugh Sackett.
The importance of the
site is renowned from the excavations of the Early Iron Age cemeteries which
are located some 500 m from the settlement on Xeropolis. Among them is the rich
in burial offerings Toumba cemetery closely linked with the outstanding tenth
century BC Toumba funeral building. The building at Toumba is remarkable
for its size and sophistication. Indeed, at over 50 m long, it is longer than
any of the early Greek temples at Eretria or Samos dated 250 years later. Its
wooden peristyle provides the earliest evidence for the use of monumental
embellishments which play such an important role in the decoration of later
temples and monumental buildings from antiquity to the present. In addition,
the two human burials and the four horses discovered in the middle of the
building are reminiscent of Homeric funerary rituals.
In 2003 Irene S. Lemos resumed excavations on Xeropolis, the settlement
of the site. One
of the aims was to compare the funerary evidence from the Early Iron Age
cemeteries at Lefkandi with domestic data from the settlement. Another
important reason to go back to Xeropolis was to imply a systematic employment
of interdisciplinary methods which were lacking from the earlier excavations.
Equally important was the decision to direct a large scale excavation with the participation of many students. This is an important aspect of the
recent excavations and study seasons during which a large number of students have
been trained, mostly from Oxford but also from others universities.
excavations have added important information for the history of the site from
the end of the palatial era to its abandonment - from 1200 to 700 BC. Among them is the discovery in the middle of the
ancient tell of a city-wall and a ritual area located nearby. Continuity from
the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Age has been also observed in the eastern
part of Xeropolis where a large building was discovered. This has been called
Megaron to emphasize its prominence
during its long period of use.
Director: Professor Irene Lemos