Ancient Poliochni


Location: Moudros   

The archaeological site of Ancient Poliochni on Lemnos: The ancient city of Poliochini, 30 km to the east of Lemnos, is thought to be the oldest settlement on Europe. Excavations carried out on the island of Lemnos have revealed some amazing facts about the city of Poliochni, which has the distinction of being the oldest Neolithic city in the whole of the Aegean region.

Archaeologists have found four chronologically different settlements here that were built one on top of the other. The oldest of the settlements, built about 4,000 BC, was the Blue Poliochni, which was followed by the Green Poliochni that covered an area of 11,000 square meters. The third and fourth settlements were the Red Poliochni and the Yellow Poliochni, the latter thought to have been destroyed in 2100 BC, around the same time as Homer's Troy. These names were given by the colours of the houses.

Even after the destruction of the Yellow Poliochni, the town is supposed to have continued its existence until 1,184 BC when Troy VII was destroyed. Other authorities, however, place the destruction of the town around 1,600 BC, during the massive volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini that wreaked widespread havoc in the region.

According to mythological accounts, Lemnos was said to have been inhabited and reined over by Amazon-like female warriors. Legend tells that when Jason and his Argonauts made a stopover at Lemnos on their way to Colchis in pursuit of the Golden Fleece, they received a warm welcome from the ladies and their queen Hypsipyle. This myth is regarded as pointing to the matriarchal character of society then prevalent on the island.

One ancient settlement excavated in Poliochni is thought to have surpassed all other contemporary towns, being twice the size of the renowned Troy. Poliochni during the Early Bronze Age consisted of a main thoroughfare crisscrossed by secondary roads at right angles, with little areas at the crossings that had wells and drainages. The uniformly large spacious houses of the town were set out in blocks along the North-South thoroughfare. The houses were built attached to each other, which shows the lack of social differences, a common characteristic of the matriarchic society.

The town was surrounded by 5m high stone wall that had slots for the archers who were probably Amazon females. Rock engraving portraying a female archer wearing a headdress of animal skin and holding a bow can still be seen there. Resulting from the valuable treasures excavated at Poliochni, the inhabitants of the town must had been immensely wealthy.


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