To the east of Pontikokastro and of Chorio, the fertile valley behind Pedhi Bay descends gently to the sea. On the lower slope of the steep hills that form the south side of this valley is another archaeological curiosity, referred to by its popular local name ‘Drakou’ (‘dragon’s lair’). (Sited half way up the southern slope of the valley and level with a line about 100m back from the shore. Not easy to find. Access by the rough track (signed) leading east from the first hairpin bend after the habitation of Chorio ends on the Panormiis road. 20 min. by foot). There are two elements here, both ancient: an unidentified but very cleanly constructed edifice in ashlar masonry; and an area of walling, terracing or fortification, just beyond (east) and further up the hill. The latter has been modified by mediaeval and later walling in small irregular stones which has been raised up on top of it. The former—a building of uncertain purpose—is more remarkable because of the very fine cutting and finishing of it large limestone elements. Earth has filled so much of the area that it is difficult to get a sense of the whole. What is visible consists of two chambers: one larger, sunk in the ground, and one smaller, above it to the south. The south door of the main chamber is beautifully finished and mounted. On the north wall are two curious, deep rectangular indentations: the whole area is scattered with cleanly cut blocks with architectural elements—protrusions and recesses. The precision with which they are worked would suggest a 4th century bc date for the masonry. Although the building’s unusual form, with its sunken elements, over looking virtually the only fertile area of the island and facing east, brings to mind a place for the cult of Demeter, more plausibly these remains belong to a large, secular building relating to the agricultural work of the valley. The wider area has yielded evidence of Late Bronze Age settlement.

Symi Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.

Symi Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.

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