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Aigina - Commercial harbour
 
The island of Aegina is inhabited since the Neolithic Age. The prehistoric settlement of the island is located at its northwest part, at the coastal hill known as Kolona, north of the modern town of Aegina. After the 7th century B.C. the ancient town expanded east of Kolona. The first period of prosperity took place in the Bronze Age. As the settlement of that time is build next to the coast, it is possible that the bay north of Kolona would be used as an anchorage. According to Knoblauch a part of the breakwater at the northern bay is dating back to the 19th century BC. In the Late Archaic and the Early Classical periods, Aegina is prospering and accumulates great wealth from maritime activities that include relations to Italy, the Black Sea and Egypt. At the beginning of the 5th century B.C. the town was being fortified and at the same time the harbour installation was expanded. The two harbours south of Kolona, a naval fortified harbour known from the ancient sources as ‘Kryptos Limen’ meaning ‘hidden harbour’ and the commercial harbour just south of it, are dating to that period. The afore mentioned harbours appear to have unified fortification and they possibly were communicating with each other. This harbour complex is protected from North and South with massive breakwaters built with unworked stones, the position of which appears to be related with the perimetric fortification of the ancient town. The west seafront of the harbour complex is delimited by a long row of manmade reefs of truncated cone shape built with unworked stones, which incommoded the approach of enemy ships to the harbours and the coast of the town, creating thus a safe anchorage.  
 

 
Main features
Region Saronic Gulf  
Use Commercial  
Prosperity period (centuries)  
Existence of contemporary port Yes, the contemporary harbour installations cover the ancient ones  
Findings on site No  
General description
The study of the commercial harbour ιs hindered by the construction of the modern harbour facilities. It had possibly an oval shape. The south mole is mentioned as ancient, in a chart of the UKHO made by Graves (1838). The harbour was in use during the 2nd Venetian rule at the end of 17th century, a fact testified by a tower built by Morosini at the end of the South mole, protecting the entrance of the harbour. The later tower was demolished at the end of the 19th century. The south mole of the naval harbour, that was either demolished or covered during the construction of the modern harbour, seems to have been connecting the naval with the commercial harbour. The fact that the two harbours were connected is of particular interest as in the early 19th century small water basins had been observed and interpreted as a channel connecting the two harbours and possibly a build and repair zone. The construction of the commercial harbour is according to Knoblauch contemporary to the naval, dated around 480 B.C.  
Technical features
Construction period (centuries) 5th B.C. - 10th A.D., 5th c. BC  
Port configuration Outer Harbour  
Port basin size 40000 - 40000 m2 
Main wind direction
Port land area km2 
Port entrance W  
Change of sea surface elevation 2.5 m 
Sedimentation No  
Outer port structures Unknown
Inner port structures Unknown  
Land facilities Uknown  
Construction method Unknown  
Neotectonic history  
Shore line displacement  
Function and operations
From this harbour basin was contacted the commercial operations of prospering Aigina but after the 5th c. BC too. Aegina’s defeat by the Athenians in the middle of the 5th century, signifies the end of its maritime supremacy and probably also the destruction of the harbour facilities. The town continued to exist until the 10 century AD without however reaching the heydays of the past.  
Sources
References in ancient literature Pausanias II  
Related researches Archeological  
Findings in museums No  
Other references Knoblauch, P. (1973) Die Hafenlagen der Stadt Ägina, Archaiologikon Deltion 27, 50-85, Athens. Triantafillidis, I. & Koutsoumba, D. (Forthcoming), The harbour Complex of Aegina, Proceedings of the 13th Symposium in Ship and Boat Archaeology, Amsterdam. Welter, G. (1938) Aeginetica XIII-XXIV, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 480-540. Welter, G. (1938) Aigina, Berlin. Καθεστώς προστασίας: Προστατευόμενος Ενάλιος Αρχαιολογικός Χώρος σύμφωνα με την Υπ. Απόφαση  
Protection regime ΥΠΠΟ/ΑΡΧ/Α1/Φ43/51126/2719/20-12-1994, ΦΕΚ 9/Β/13-1-1995  
Author Ioannis Triantafιllidis  
Editor Despoina Koutsoumba - Θεοτόκης Θεοδούλου  
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