The descent: the Gate of Parmenon
From the summit, the way down is at first by means of a precipitous rock-cut staircase which descends with in what would have been a bastion of the walls. In this stretch the walls consist of cut blocks of often remarkable size. After 80–100m of descent, and shortly before some steps cut into the walls, a large rock to the left of the path and at right-angles to the line of the walls has, scratched into the surface of its south face, two large eyes and a nose thought to be an apotropaic carving, designed to avert evil befalling the walls. Little of a conclusive nature can be said about this, because of the difficulty of dating something so superficially cut, and with few comparable counterparts elsewhere. But the similarity of this unusual design to the carved faces on the megalithic stelai of the late 3rd millennium bc found in the Early Bronze Age site at Skala Sotiros (see p. 88) should not go unobserved. Fifty metres further on, in a large block built into the wall to the right, and just above ground level, is what is assumed to be the *archaic signature of a marble worker, contemporary with the building of the first phase of the walls, and therefore dating from around 500 bc. Deter mined to leave his mark to posterity, he carved his name ‘ΠΑΡΜΕΝΟΝ … ’, followed by a couple more letters, all deeply incised in a rising crescent. This precedes the gate which for convenience bears his name, complete with monolithic door posts and massive lintel, the interior face of which bears the lateral and central cuts which held and facilitated the barring mechanism of the gate. From here the line of the walls descends to the floor of the valley, past a postern gate, and enters the area of modern habitation.

Thasos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.

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