East side of Parikia
At the junctions and on the ring-road to the east of Parikiá is a plethora of brown signs indicating minor archaeological sites, wherever excavation has taken place. The size of the sign often does not correspond to the importance or interest of the site. The most significant are the following:
Archaic ceramic workshop (just west of the peripheral road, two blocks in, and to the south of the main car-park, underneath the extension of an apartment building to the left of the street). The workshop comprises two large kilns, constructed in packed masonry, several smaller kilns, and two lined tanks for preparing clay, one of which has a mosaic floor. Potsherds from the site indicate that the workshop was in use through the Classical and
Hellenistic periods. 200m to the north, a comparable sculpture workshop, with unfinished, smallscale sculptures in it, has also been uncovered.
Hellenistic/Roman house (underneath the ‘Pensione Evangelitsa’, north west of the main car-park on the west side of the peripheral road: access down steps into basement). Both the steps to the original upper floor and the imposing marble door-posts and threshold can be seen; a curiosity is the small earthenware pot set into the window shelf. The house dates from the 2nd century bc.
Hellenistic houses and the walls of the ancient city (east of the peripheral road, from the junction just south of the Archaeology Museum). The foundations of several Hellenistic, residential blocks have been uncovered in the area immediately east of the peripheral road: several fine, non-figurative floor mosaics have been revealed and are visible in situ. The large lozenge shaped design surrounded by a ‘running wave’ frame is of beautiful colour, which can be revived with water. Under one corner where the mosaic is missing is visible another, older layer beneath in a different and earlier technique. Further up the road, above the modern cemetery, a section of the Archaic walls, built of large blocks of schist, is visible; the monolithic door-jambs of a gateway have also survived.
The Aghios Panteleimon area (behind the building across the main road and adjacent gulley, from the upper, eastern tip of the pine-grove beside the Katapolianí). This is a large area— part cemetery, part sanctuary—which has yielded a number of important pieces of sculpture, including the Gorgon acroterion and two kouroi, now in the Archaeological Museum. The finding of the Gorgon suggests that there may have been an, as yet unidentified, Archaic sanctuary here. The most visible remains are of the stepped, circular, Archaic funerary monument in white marble, which bears the incisions in its top for the fixing of a dedicatory column or votive statue. Clearly visible on its first and second steps are several 'antique ‘graffiti' incised into the marble: these include names, the image of a house, a phallic symbol, and many footprints. The latter, which are found widely on Paros, were a common way for visitors to pay their respects to the commemorated hero or athlete, and to leave their mark.
The ancient cemeteries (beside the post office, just in from the waterfront, 200m east of the church of Aghios Nikolaos). This is one of the richest cemeteries excavated in the Cyclades so far, whose range of interest and importance comes from its having been continually used from the 8th century bc until the late Roman period. It was remarkably well organised, with walls dividing it into areas according to family or clan. Many different kinds of burial practice are represented: there are 8th century polyandria, or stone-lined compartments for group or multiple burials, containing cremated ashes in amphorae; early cist graves for inhumations; graves made of ceramic tiles; Hellenistic marble urns with marble lids for ashes; and, most visible of all, the Roman-period sarcophagi, with lids designed as pitched roofs, and sides decorated with funeral banquet scenes. Several standing, marble, grave stelai can be seen in the area, standing on stepped bases: the tallest one visible was a boundary marker for the Geometric cemetery; the two smaller ones close to it, mark individual graves of the Classical period. A small exhibition space at the edge of the area displays a variety of marble burial urns, and the skeleton of a horse which was buried presumably with its owner as a grave offering.
The first turn east from the peripheral road south of the museum climbs steeply up to the monastery of the Aghii Anargyri (2.5km), which overlooks the whole area of Parikiá and its bay from the east (open daily 10–2, 4–sunset). The monastery is built in front of a tiny grotto with a seeping spring of fresh water (south chapel), which may have functioned as a hermitage in earliest times. Although the existing buildings date from the mid-17th century, the monastery is said to have been founded by a refugee who left Constantinople before the city fell to the Turks in 1453.
A kilometre and a half east of Parikiá, beside the main road to Náousa, is the possible location of the Heroön of Archilochus, or Archilocheion, at a site known today as ‘Tris Ekklisies’ (‘three churches’), named after the three 17th century chapels which formerly stood here, which were removed by archaeologists when the site was fully explored. The chapels were built over the remains of a large Early Christian basilica of the 6th century whose broad, three-aisle plan with apse is now clearly visible, as well as the foundations of an unusual apsidal chapel which obtruded from the middle of the south wall. The large threshold blocks in the west with door-locking slots and the fixtures for the feet of the
ciborium can be seen. The paving of the sanctuary in Parian marble is of particular fineness, and many columns, panels, capitals and
templon elements in the same brilliant material have been set up at various points across the site. These pieces were nearly all taken from pagan buildings and reused or re-cut; this explains why such a high proportion of them bear Hellenistic inscriptions, and why several of the blocks show the incised, ancient imprints of feet—one in the floor of the central nave; others just to the south. There is a marked number of these intriguing and beautiful symbols on Paros (see circular monument at Aghios Panteleimon, p. 43), which elsewhere are most frequently found in sanctuaries of Isis and Serapis as votive gifts or records of the presence of devotees of a cult. In the 1950s the inscribed plaques, now in the museum, referring to the building of a heroön to Archilochus, in response to an utterance of the Delphic Oracle, were found not far from here; and when Tris Ekklisies was excavated shortly after, the 6th century bc Ionic capital with the dedicatory inscription to Archilochus, also in the museum, was found on the site. It is therefore generally believed that Tris Ekklisies marks the site of the original monument to the poet; and that the blocks incised with footprints may have belonged originally to it.
Travel Guide to Paros & Greece