Limenoscope - Ancient Hellenic Ports
_MAP        _HARBOURS        _BACKGROUND        _CONTACT        Ελληνική έκδοση

Andros - Palaeopoli
Ancient Andros city is located in the middle of the western coast of the island, where today is the village of Palaeopolis. The city was built upon the steep slopes that circulate a small plain in the neighbοring bay, where remains of ancient harbour works are still visible.
The area has been inhabited since the Prehistoric times and the city/island of Andros was able to establish four colonies in Halkidiki, during the 7th century B.C. (Stageira, Akanthos, Argilos, Sani). In the classical period, the city was a member of the Athenian League, however during the Peloponnesian war it allied with Sparta only to return under Athenian influence short after. In the Hellenistic period it was under Pergamos rule.
The city flourished during the Roman and early Byzantine periods and finally abandoned as many other settlements in the Aegean islands, around the 7th century A.D., due the Arabian Raids. The harbour remains is under investigation the last two summers (2006-2008), as part of a geological study in the framework of collaboration between Athens University and the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities (Ministry of Culture - Greece).
However, Pseudoskylax reference to the harbour (58) certifies its existence since the Classical period (4th century B.C.). This conclusion is also supported by the harbour's shape that resembles a "limen kleistos" (enclosed harbour) in combination with the city's walls, which seem to extent until the breakwaters. Nevertheless, further investigation is required to certify whether the remains can be dated from the Classical period or that they belong to a subsequent phase.  


Main features
Region Aegean sea  
Use Not defined  
Prosperity period (centuries)  
Existence of contemporary port No  
Findings on site Yes, the two moles.  
General description
As depicted in the satellite image of the area (Fig. 1), the port is bordered by two breakwaters. The windward breakwater with N-S axis is about 170m long and afterwards bends in right angle to the SE for another 40m. Along the beach facing the tip of the breakwater, a second construction can be seen, with an approximate length of 70m that seems to be a lee breakwater.
At the origin of the windward breakwater the archaeological research has revealed remains of ancient Roman baths. Equivalently, the excavations have brought to light in small distance remains of important buildings of the agora complex that belong to the end of the Hellenistic-beginning of the Roman period. The remains of an early Christian Basilica are also being excavated. The chronology of the buildings is indicative to the peak period of the port.
The size of the port's basin is relatively small, leading to a possible conclusion that part of it has been filled with rubble, especially if we take in account the existence of a nearby stream that now discharges in the basin and the steep ground upon which the city has been build.  
Technical features
Construction period (centuries) , Undefined. Possibly in Classical period with reconstructions and repairs until 7th c. A.D.  
Port configuration Artificial Harbour, Outer Harbour  
Port basin size m2 
Main wind direction S
Port land area km2 
Port entrance from South, possibly protected from a spur further south of the main mole.  
Change of sea surface elevation
Sedimentation No  
Outer port structures Moles
Inner port structures  
Land facilities  
Construction method  
Neotectonic history  
Shore line displacement Silting  
Function and operations
The function and operation of the port cannot be determined without further investigation; it is logical however to assume that it hosted the fleet and served as a trading post for the city of Andros (importation of grain, exportation of minerals).
Based upon ancient sources (Xenophon 1.4.21, Diod. Siculus VIII.69), which refer to the hosting of warships in the bay of Gavrio and the fact that a guard party was posted there, it has been supported that this bay was the main harbour of Andros island. Although such a hypothesis cannot be excluded, the remains of a "kleistos limen" in Palaeopoli cannot be irrelevant from the security of the city a and the war fleet accordingly.  
References in ancient literature
  • Herodotus, Historiae VIIΙ.66,121
  • Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library VIII.69, XX.37
  • Xenophon, Hellenica I.4.21
  • Skylax Periplus58  
  • Related researches Geological  
    Findings in museums No  
    Other references
  • Κοντολέων Ν., 1964, Αρχαιολογική Εφημερίς, Χρονικά, σσ. 1-5
  • Παλαιοκρασσά-Κόπιτσα Λ., 1994, "Το αρχαιολογικό έργο στην Παλαιόπολη Aνδρου", Περιοδικό του Συλλόγου Διδακτικού Προσωπικού της Φιλοσοφικής Σχολής Ι' (Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών), σσ. 559-563
  • Παλαιοκρασσά-Κόπιτσα Λ., 1996, Παλαιόπολις Aνδρου. Τα οικοδομικά από την προανασκαφική έρευνα, Αθήνα
  • Παλαιοκρασσά-Κόπιτσα Λ., 1998, "Η αρχαία πόλη της Aνδρου", Aνδρος και Χαλκιδική, Πρακτικά Συμποσίου, Aνδρος 23 Αυγ. 1997, Ανδριακά Χρονικά 29, σσ. 60-65
  • Παλαιοκρασσά-Κόπιτσα Λ., 2001, "Ανασκαφή Παλαιόπολης", Aγκυρα 1, σσ. 227-232
  • Τελεβάντου Χ., 2002, Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Παλαιόπολης. Η Αρχαία Πόλις της Aνδρου, Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού-ΚΑ΄ ΕΠΚΑ, Αθήνα
  • Πασχάλης Δ.Π., 1925, Η Ιστορία της Νήσου Aνδρου, τ. Α΄, Δάρδανος, Αθήνα  
  • Protection regime  
    Author Theotokis Theodoulou  
    Editor Theotokis Theodoulou  
    © copyright - National Technical University of Athens_Sponsors