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The ancient Demos of Kymissaleis on Rhodes

The archaeological research at the ancient Demos of Kymissaleis

Τhe Demos of Kymissaleis site map
In the south-western quadrant of Rhodes, in the area of modern Kymissala, the Department of Mediterranean Studies, of the University of the Aegean and the 22nd Ephoreate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, in collaboration with the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens and with the participation of the Institute of Archaeology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, are currently conducting intensive archaeological research on the ancient Demos of Kymissaleis.

The research for the past 5 years has shown that the antiquities are scattered in woodland covering an area of approximately 10 square kilometres or 10,000 acres. Kymissala therefore constitutes one of the most important and rather extensive archaeological networks in the countryside of Rhodes (see map).

It had its own citadel, on the hill of Saint Fokas, which dominates the region and appears to control -at least by sight- 7 sites, which should have belonged to its jurisdiction, namely the site at Vassilika, Napes, Charakas, Glyfada/Monossyria, Stelies, Maramarounia and Kambanes.

Several cemeteries exist next to the settlements: at Napes, Charakas and Glyphada, while minor groups of graves have been also located at the sites of Alonia and Kambanes, with most important, of course, the central necropolis on the foothills of Kymissala and Saint Fokas.

It seems that the demos of Kymissaleis existed at least from the 7th c B.C. until later antiquity (4th-6th c A.D.), as is verified by the excavation in the central necropolis, as well as by the sporadic archaeological finds that have come to light over time.

The identification of the region with the territory of the ancient Demos of Kymissaleis has been proven by the existence of the ethnic epithet Kymissaleus on funerary stelae found in the area, as well as by the survival of the ancient name Kymissala, consisting evidence of continuity in the region since Greek antiquity.

The research is connected with a vast geographical archaeological site of ca. 10.000 km2, with multiple interconnected fields representing urban planning, fortresses and acropolis, burial monuments and graveyards that reflect social stratifications and establishments in an extended chronological period, from the Early Greek Period to Late Antiquity.

This network of sites is situated within the heart of an area of unique geomorphology, with rare species of fauna and flora in the Aegean region, protected by the European Project Natura 2000. Thus one of the prime aims of the University of the Aegean and the collaborating Institutions is, on the one hand, to further enforce the protection of the natural environment and on the other hand to preserve and promote, in a sustainable way, the cultural heritage within this environment, by focusing in the creation of an archaeological and ecological Park at Kymissala. This will eventually result in the sustainable development of the semi-mountainous region of Atavyros in general, which is totally undeveloped today.

Research in 2019 supported by:

Mediterranean Archaeological Society

Saint-Panteleimon Parish of Sianna, Rhodes

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