The village of Artemísio and the cape to the west both take their name from a shoreside temple of Artemis Proseoia, mentioned by Plutarch in his Life of Themistocles (VIII, 1) – surrounded, he says, by a wall of a kind of marble that imparted the odour and colour of saffron when rubbed. German archaeologist Lolling investigated the area in the 1880s, encouraged by a Roman period inscription detailing contributions for repairs to the sanctuary. He found on a hill just S of the road from Asmini to Artemisio, by a modern cemetery chapel of Ag. Georgios, walls of a small 6th century Byzantine complex. Sherd scatter and ancient blocks convinced him this was the site of the ancient temple. Nothing remains for the visitor, however, but one exposed Byz wall by the church and a few sherds.
It was here, along the broad beach of modern Pefki, that the Greek fleet based itself during the three days of crucial fighting in the straits, in which they succeeded in delaying the advance of the fleet of Xerxes, early in the second Persian invasion of 480 BC.
The road climbs eastwards from Gouves and turns south at Agriovótano above Cape Artemision (2 km of track leads down to the point). The cape not only gives its name to the important naval battle, but also to two of Greece's most spectacular underwater archaeological finds. In 1926 the left arm of a bronze statue was found at the site of an underwater shipwreck which had occurred in the 2nd century BC in the waters off Cape Artemision. The site was properly examined in 1928 and the rest of the magnificent, mid-5th century BC bronze statue of Zeus hurling a thunderbolt (sometimes erroneously referred to as an image of Poseidon) was salvaged from the water. The work has since been tentatively attributed to Kalamis. In the same year, the first fragments of another of the most famous bronzes of antiquity were also salvaged – the dramatic, Hellenistic group of Horse and Jockey. A second search in 1936 found further fragments, sufficient to attempt a valid reconstruction of the group. The piece probably dates from the early 2nd century BC. Both pieces may have been produced on the mainland – at Corinth or Sicyon – and were being transported to Pergamon when they were wrecked off the cape here: both are now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Athens. Wikidata ID: Q105317807
Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands
(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)