The Excavation


At the mouth of the Xeropotamos stream, on the homonymous creek on the northern side of the island, functioned, from the second half of the 4th century BC, a by the harbor sanctuary dedicated to Apollo and Artemis (FIG.14).
In ancient times, the sea penetrated deeper into the creek, creating thus a “hidden” harbor protected from the strong northern winds. With the strong earthquake of 365 AD, the island was uplifted c. 2,80m, shifting thus the shoreline in its current position.
The sanctuary is located on the left southwestern bank of Xeropotamos (FIG.15) and its peribolos (precinct), where it is joined with the stream-“harbour”, is constructed of very large stone blocks in order to withstand the pressure of the water (FIG.16).
The foundation of the temple has been uncovered and it had, similarly to Crete, the shape of an oikos, without colonnade. The foundation of the altar of the temple has also been uncovered. The orientation of the temple is towards the northeast and its axis is towards the island of Delos.
The first find from the area of the sanctuary that also led to the identification with the worshipped gods was uncovered in 1888. It is a statue of Apollo dated to the 2nd century BC (FIG.17)
. Shortly after, the base of a statue was uncovered with the inscription that is dated to the third quarter of the 4th century BC (FIG.18):
Aristomenes son of Aristomedes
Thessalian from Pherae
Nikon, son of Kefisodoros Athenian
dedicated to Apollo of Aegilia

Among the rest votive finds there are many arrow heads – Apollo taught the Cretans the archery art-, coins with representations of either Apollo or Artemis and their symbols, and also large number of jewelry (FIG.19)(FIG.20)(FIG.21).

Above the small cove of Xeropotamos stands the fortified city of the Hellenistic period that covers an area of 200 acres. It was build on the western slope of the peninsular of “Kastro” (FIG.4)
TThe fortification walls cover the whole western slope, from the rocky seashore in the west and north to the ridge in the east (FIG.23).On the highest top, a second fortification line limited the administrative and religious center of the city, the “Acropolis”.
The fortification walls of the city are visible almost along the whole length and they were constructed of different ways, according to the local material. From the fortification walls, along the whole length, protrude rectangular fortification towers (FIG.24)(FIG.25).
At the northern part of the fort a large area has been left without constructed houses or other constructions, as it happened usually in places that were very often attacked. In these open areas they “hosted” either their inhabitants in case of emergency, who fled there for protection, or troops that were coming to strengthen the defense (FIG.26).
Apart from the northern part that was destined for the accommodation of the allied troops, the rest of the fortified area included houses that are now covered by modern agricultural terraces. In the western part, which is flat and rocky, foundations of houses are preserve (FIG.27)(FIG.28), many of which are constructed in direct contact with the western part of the walls.

One of the most important monumental constructions of the city is the shipshed located at the northern end of the western seaside fortification walls. It has totally been cut in the natural rock, 30m long and visible today above the sea level due to the uplift of the island in 365 BC (FIG.29). Parts of the shipshed are visible today that in antiquity were cut in the rock and under the surface of the sea then.
On its “floor” are also preserved the cuttings that consisted sockets for the supports of the wooden scaffold that would accommodate the ship, and also the groove for the strong gate of the shipshed towards the sea (FIG.30).Niches are carved on the walls of the rock on the side of the shipshed for the offerings of the sailors.

The so-called “Prison”, by the locals, is a monument preserved and located in close distance from the shipshed and in the middle of the large limestone quarry (FIG.31).It is a rock cut, under the ground, rectangular area orientated N-S with two chambers on the sides, that functioned as a sanctuary dedicated to a chthonic deity, the name of which has not been preserved (FIG.32).

The cemetery of the ancient city is located in the south-east, outside the fortified city, in an area that is called today “Mnemata” (the Graves). Until today 21 graves have been found and are separated into three categories: a) graves in caves (FIG.32), b) shaft graves cut on the natural rock (FIG.33) and c) small rectangular pits cut on the natural rock (FIG.34)
. Most of them were looted in antiquity. In the rest, large number of funerary finds have been uncovered, typical of the Hellenistic period (from the late 4th century BC until the beginning of the 1st century BC) (FIG.35)