Kolona exc. (Aegina) Aegina - Κολόνα

Kolona, Bronze Age settlement with one surviving column of a classical temple, Aegina town
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Latitude: 37.750300
Longitude: 23.423500
Confidence: High

Place ID: 378234XKol
Time period: BGACHRL
Region: Attica
Country: Greece
Department: Islands/Aigina
Mod: Aegina

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Modern Description: The low promontory just to the north of the town is occupied by the archaeological remains of more than five millennia of continuous habitation on the site now referred to as *‘Kolona'. By the early Bronze Age the settlement here had already grown to be an important centre in prehistoric Greece, and its well-preserved walls and habitations of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC are amongst the most significant in the Aegean. At the other end of the time line, there are substantial Roman remains and evidence of Byzantine habitation following on thereafter. Excavation began in the late 19th century and continues today, mostly executed by German, Austrian and Greek archaeologists.
As you stand in front of the first rise of the site, a basic distinction in building materials is immediately present to view, with the fine (occasionally plastered) archaic construction just above ground level and with the massive rectangular blocks of Classical and Hellenistic work on top of the field of vision; in between is the hastier in-filling with the smaller, round stones of re-used prehistoric material. Climbing up, you pass a large, broken storage vase of the classical period in situ, and (to the left) vestiges of a clay lined water-tank and drainage-pipe.
Emerging at the top, the prehistoric structures, which have followed the rise of the hill, are now revealed to the right (east). The forms of well-heads, mill-stones, doorways, and ovens (under a lean-to roof) are visible, with the occasional parts of Archaic and Classical structures, at a higher level, above them. The site has good explanatory displays which are necessary for making sense of a complex superimposition of many layers – 10 different levels in the prehistoric settlement alone, going back to the first human evidence of the 5th millennium BC. By about 2500 BC we find substantial dwellings, whose external flights of steps suggests they possessed a second floor; by 2200 BC, there emerge the first clear fortifications. At this point development was interrupted by a conflagration in c. 2050 BC; but the town soon rose again with greater strength and renewed commercial activity indicated by the presence of Minoan and Cycladic pottery; the fortifications were extended towards the east. The burial place of a hero-warrior dating from the 17th century BC lies about 20m to the south east: when excavated it was found to contain finely crafted weapons, a helmet and gold diadem. Then, in common with all the Mycenaean sites on the mainland, there is a clear break in habitation in 1200 BC.
Behind, to the west, are the remains of the Classical temple of Apollo, which stood on a high platform and dominated the skyline. This is the third such temple on the site, and dates from c. 510 BC: the first was erected in around 600 BC, and the second, which appears to have been destroyed by fire, was built a half-century later. The last temple, to whose opisthodomos (the rear chamber behind the naos) the one standing column belonged, was a conventional Doric temple, facing east, with 6 x 11 monolithic columns in its peristyle. The path crosses the stone platform which surrounded the temple's high podium: the platform is carefully crafted, with a fine upper edge to the stone and an irregular rustication of the vertical face. It is interesting that there is no overall, organized plan of the exact size of the blocks: the construction appears to proceed by rule of thumb. A section of the temenos wall of the sanctuary is conserved just to the north; and the temple's large altar can be seen some distance to the east.
From the northeast corner of the temple-platform can been seen the superimposition of fortifications of different epochs. In the vertical wall facing, the rougher stonework of the prehistoric (middle Bronze Age) walls below is surmounted by later Hellenistic fortifications in regular blocks – themselves re-used pieces from archaic construction, some of which have the letters of inscriptions in their surface. To the left, the late antique rectangular tower is built over a bastion of the prehistoric walls. But the imposing magnitude of the fortifications can only be appreciated by descending from the north side of the temple, and going outside the walls. Towards the eastern end, it is possible to see three periods together: the irregular stones of the prehistoric walls, set back behind the clean lines of the archaic fortifications added in front, with Roman additions standing even further out from the city. The view of the ramparts from here is impressive and gives a clear sense of the compact unity which a settlement of this period presented to the outside world.
To the west of the temple of Apollo, the city extends in a tight-knit web of prehistoric houses. Only the bases of two or three later Hellenistic constructions are clearly visible above them: these date from the period of Pergamon's possession of Aegina, and one may represent the remains of a monument to the Attalid dynasty.
Wikidata ID: Q38281109
Trismegistos Geo: 77

Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands

(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)

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