Prehistoric Settlement of Agia Irini
Location: Agia Irini
The Prehistoric Settlement of Agia Irini in Kea Greece, Cyclades: The area of Agia Irini in Kea hosts an ancient seaside settlement that dates back to the late Neolithic Age (approximately 3,300 BC). The first settlement in this hilly area showed that Kea had cultural interactions with continental Greece.
The settlement was characterized by rocky elevations constructed overlooking the sea. The cemetery of the settlement was found at the foot of the hill. It was believed that the inhabitants of Agia Eirini were farmers and fishermen and that they were dealing with metallurgy.
The settlement of Agia Irini also gives indications that the Cycladic culture of the Early Bronze Age existed in this area during the period from 3,000 BC to 1,500 BC. From 1,700 BC and onwards, Agia Eirini town acted as a communication channel between the Minoan and the Mycenaean culture. The geographical location of the island and the availability of a safe harbor contributed to the social and economic development in the area.
During this period, the settlement was surrounded by fortified walls. The notable architectural constructions of this era included a temple and the mansion of the master. Most of the important buildings existed in this site were constructed during the period 1,600-1,450 B.C. Historians say that a powerful earthquake, which occurred in about 1,450 B.C., led this culture in ruins.
The excavations around this area revealed many notable art objects and pottery items, such as clay ovens and long jars. The marble statues of ladies with folded hands, also called "Kores", prove the esthetic excellence of this culture. Kores are the statues of girls with long clothes and they were made of clay. The Depous amfikypellon, a narrow and tall vessel with two handles, was another typical item found in this site. These artifacts are today displayed at the Archaeological Museum of Ioulida.
The site at Agia Irini is not open to the public. It is protected by a fence and entry is allowed only to archaeologists, after given permission. The tourists are only allowed to walk around the fence and get just a view of the settlement. The site contains plenty of ruins from different ages. The ruins of an old ship can also be seen at the bay close to the site.