Limenoscope - Ancient Hellenic Ports
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Aigeira
 
The ancient city of Aigeira was located in the Palaiokastro hill, in the northern tip of the Corinthian gulf, west of its modern location. The excavations conducted by the Austrian archaeological Institute provided some indication that the area was inhabited since the later Neolithic era. The city was known to Homer by the name Hyperesia. The Mycenaean establishment of the 12th century B.C. developed to a city that reached its peak during the Hellenistic and Roman period, according to the archaeological remains. As a result of a severe earthquake the city was devastated during the 4th century A.C.
The remains of Aigeira's harbour are located in the coastline near Mavra Litharia village, (Evrostini), in a bay, under the hill were the ancient city was located. All harbour structures are inland, due to the rising of the northern Peloponnesian coast for about 4 meters since antiquity. They can be attributed to the Roman period based on their structural details, but the existence of earlier constructions in underlying layers cannot be excluded.  
 

Figures

 
Main features
Region Corinthian Gulf  
Use Commercial  
Prosperity period (centuries) 2nd A.D. - 4th A.D.  
Existence of contemporary port No  
Findings on site Yes  
General description
It is evidenced that rocky courses advanced once into the sea, creating favorable conditions for establishing a harbour in the area where the remnants of the Roman harbour of Aigeira are located, although the coast's morphology has been drastically altered as aforementioned. The conglomerate blocks found in the area are most probably part of elongated breakwaters, which were built along what it is nowadays the coastline. A sandy bay disrupting the continuity of the breakwaters can be regarded as the harbour's entrance. However, a different layout with a single breakwater cannot be excluded. The harbour structures, founded in a sandy seabed, were built by using hydraulic cement, pebbles and fragments of rocks, which were placed in wooden moulds (caissons).  
Technical features
Construction period (centuries) 2nd A.D. - 3rd A.D.  
Port configuration Artificial Harbour  
Port basin size m2 
Main wind direction N
Port land area km2 
Port entrance  
Change of sea surface elevation 4 m 
Sedimentation  
Outer port structures Moles, Breakwaters
Inner port structures  
Land facilities  
Construction method  
Neotectonic history Lift  
Shore line displacement Weathering  
Function and operations
The city's location in the middle of the northern side of Peloponnese and the southern side of the Corinthian gulf, enlists it in a possible port network serving the trade line between Corinth, north Peloponnese and western Mediterranean colonies. Therefore construction or reconstruction of the Hegeira's harbour during the Roman period is strongly related to the importance attributed by the Romans to Corinth and the Lechaion harbour that was built during the same period.
It would be reasonable as well to assume that Aigeira was a terminal port in another sea route, connecting to the Itea gulf, which serviced the Delphi oracle and the Phokis mainland. Following this assumption, searching for harbour installations prior to the Roman period, connecting to Mainland Greece compartment (Sterea), seems logical.  
Sources
References in ancient literature
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece, VII, 26
  • Polybius, The Histories, IV, 57  
  • Related researches Archeological, Geological, Seismicals  
    Findings in museums No  
    Other references
  • Alzinger W. & Mitsopoulos-Leon V., 1973, "Aigeira 1972", AAA 6, 193-200 (in Greek)
  • Alzinger W., 1974, "Aigeira's Excavations", AAA 7, 157-162 (in Greek)
  • Alzinger W., 1976, "Aigeira", AAA 9, 162-165 (in Greek)
  • Kershawa S., Guob L., Bragac J., 2005, "A Holocene coral-algal reef at Mavra Litharia, Gulf of Corinth, Greece: structure, history, and applications in relative sea-level change", Marine Geology 215, 171-192 [http://hera.ugr.es/doi/15772135.pdf]
  • Ladstatter G., "Aigeira" in Austrian Archaeological Institute [http://www.oeai.at/eng/ausland/aigeira.html] Feb. 2004
  • Leake W.M., 1836, Travels in Morea 3, London
  • Papageorgiou S., Arnold M., Laborel J., Stiros S., 1993, "Seismic uplift of the harbour of ancient Aigeira, Central Greece", IJNA 22.3, 275-281
  • Stiros, S.C., 1998. "Archaeological Evidence for Unusually Rapid Holocene Uplift Rates in an Active Normal Faulting Terrain: Roman Harbor of Aigeira, Gulf of Corinth, Greece" Geoarchaeology 13.7, 731-741
  • Verdelis N., 1958, "Chronique des fouilles en 1957", BCH, 726
  • Walter O., 1919, "Eine archaologische Voruntersuchung in Aigeira", Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Instituts in Wien, Beiblatt, 6-42
  • Micha P.,2002, "The harbour of ancient Aigeira", NAVIS II: http://www.rgzm.de/Navis2/Home/FramesE.cfm
  • Papahatzis Ν., 1974, Pausanias. Description of Greece. Attica , Ekdotike Athinon, Athens (in Greek)
  • Stiros S., 2001, "The ancient harbour at Mavra Litharia Korinthias. Construction, history and conclusions for the reasons of ancient Aigeira's decnine" in Mitsopoulos V. (ed.), Forchungen in der Peloponnes, Ost. Arch. Institute, Athen  
  • Protection regime test  
    Author Theotokis Theodoulou  
    Editor Theotokis Theodoulou  
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