Ancient Mende in Halkidiki, Greece: Apart from its natural beauties, the peninsula of Halkidiki is also known for its many significant archaeological discoveries. One such significant discovery is the arcaeological site in Ancient Mende. Located in the western peninsula of Halkidiki, this magnificent site is situated in Palini area and is believed to have been a colony of Eretria.
Scheduled excavations began at this site in 1986 till around 1994. Many interesting structures and artifacts have been recovered from this site. Findings give a lot of information on the colony. Mende is also believed to be the birthplace of Paiogios, a famous sculptor who lived in the 5th century. One of his most famous works is the statue of Niki in Olympia.
During the 5th century, Mende was powerful in economical and military terms. It used to be an ally of Athens, but during the Peloponnesian War, which lasted from 431 B.C. to 404 B.C., Mende was defected, seized and looted by the Athenians. After this, in the 4th century, the town was captured by Philip II, which resulted in the economical decline of the town.
The name Mende has been derived from an aromatic peppermint plant, known as "menda" (peppermint in english) that still grows in the region today. The economic growth in this region, recorded as particularly high during the 6th century, was mainly due to the vast export of high-quality wine.
The complete archaeological site is about 200 x 600 meters and is located on the slopes of a pine covered hill, covering most of its flat side. Within the acropolis, known as Vigla, many hole clusters were discovered. These were used as a ceramic store from the 12th to the 7th century B.C. In Proasteio, remains of houses from the 9th to the 4th century B.C as well as streets have been recovered. A cemetery was also revealed, consisting of 241 graves, mostly of babies and very young children, dated from the beginning of the 7th century to the end of the 6th century.
Most of the ceramic artifacts retrieved from this site have geometric decorations on them. Some of the vessels retrieved indicate that one of the structures is the temple of Poseidon and dates from the 5th century. The ancient town's sanctuary was discovered in Possidi, about 4 km to the west of Mende. Some of the other structures discovered include numerous arched buildings, dating from the 6th century and the first geometrically arched building dates from around the 10th century. An altar was also found within this building and some coins, which indicate that currency came into existence from around the 6th century B.C.
This archaeological findings are very significant. The site also indicates that a permanent settlement existed in this region with immense Euboec influence. It also tells us about the commercial relations that existed during this time. Though no exact date has been assigned to the construction of the colony, it is believed to have been created during the 12th or 11th century.