Helike (Achaia) 86 Nikoleika - Ελίκη

Ἑλίκη - Helike, Archaic to Classical polis swallowed by the sea, with early temple at Nikoleika in Achaia Peloponnese

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The search for the submerged Classical city of Helike is a major archaeological priority. Pausanias located Helike 40 stadia east of Aigion, in the coastal plain between modern Rizomylos and Rodia. The city was submerged by a powerful earthquake in 373 BCE, and over the centuries has been covered by alluvium from the modern Kerynitis river (ancient Erasinos?). In 2004-2010 the foundations of a Geometric temple were excavated in Nikoleika in a field just N of the old Patras-Corinth road. Architectural terracottas from a Archaic temple were found just to the N. The excavators have proposed that this is the famous sanctuary of Helikonian Poseidon linked with the primary divinity of the ancient Ionians and associated with the city's destruction.
In 2016 the temple excavation remained unsignposted, fenced, and covered with a sheet metal roof.
An extensive early Mycenaean chamber tomb cemetery was partly excavated at Nikoleika; in the course of work on the new National Road an associated settlement was found in the Psoriarou locality of Nikoleika on the slope of the hill just south of the main highway. The excavation data have led to the hypothesis that this might have been the location of Mycenaean Helike. Just before the village of Nea Keryneia, a signposted dirt road leads to ancient rooftiles and other faint traces of an ancient settlement near the church of Agios Georgios. Visible in the road cut are traces of an ancient pipe. A few rough conglomerate blocks are visible from retaining or defensive walls. This site has been called the acropolis of ancient Helike.


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