Situated on the coast four kilometres west of the Strymona delta on the Thessaloniki-Kavala old national road, the ancient city of Argilos occupies a hill called Palaiokastro. The hill, culminating in an acropolis at an elevation of 80 m, is naturally protected by ravines on its west and north sides, while its southeastern side gently slopes down towards the sea.
The site was first recognized as Argilos in 1883 by Perdrizet, basing his identification on the writings of Herodotus, which report that when the Persians crossed the Strymona on their way towards Athens, the first city they encountered was Argilos. The site was revisited by Collart and Devambez in 1930, but no excavation took place. In the late 1970s, a few tombs belonging to the necropolis of Argilos were uncovered by the Greek archaeological service, but it was not until 1992 that systematic research was begun as a collaboration between CIG and the 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Kavala. The project directors are Zisis Bonias (18th Ephorate) and Jacques Perreault (University of Montreal).
The main objective of the research programme is to better understand the establishment and organization of the Greek colonies on the northwestern coast of the Aegean through systematic excavations. The exceptional quality of the remains brought to light at Argilos provide the opportunity to study fundamental aspects linked to the cultural relations between Greeks and Thracians and the development of colonial urbanism.
Work at Argilos has concentrated on three areas of the hill: along the sea coast, where the earliest occupation levels of the town have been unearthed; on the southeast slope, where excavations have brought to light important public and domestic dwellings which provide precious information about the architectural and urban development of the city; and on the acropolis, where archaeologists have uncovered buildings covering all periods of the city’s existence, and notably those of the Hellenistic period, built after the destruction by Philip II in 357 B.C.
For further information, visit the Argilos website: http://www.argilos.org