The Bronze Age Acropolis in Panormos

Near the bay of Pánormos at the southeastern tip of Naxos lies on a low hill called Korfári ton Amygdalión (= hill of the almond trees) a small Bronze Age acropolis (= fortress). It consists of about twenty tiny rooms and is surrounded by a wall which is reinforced by small bastions. The walls of the houses and the protective wall are preserved in most places only up to about knee level. The acropolis was excavated in the 1960s by Greek archaeologists under Chr. Doumas.

The Acropolis of Pánormos is probably the oldest building on Naxos. It dates from the Early Bronze Age (about 2,300 BC) and is thus almost four and a half thousand years old. The acropolis lies on a small flat hill which offers only little natural protection. The environment is quite fertile and was cultivated until very recently with wheat and barley. The acropolis is located very close to one of the island’s bays that are best protected from the predominating northern winds. Due to its location behind a hilltop it can hardly be seen from the sea. Around the Acropolis grow wild almond trees (Prunus webbii), after which the hill is named (amygdalo = almond).

The wild almond trees that grow here gave the hill Korfári ton Amygdalión its name.

The small size of the rooms of the Acropolis of Pánormos (1.2 x 1.4 m to 2.5 x 3.5 m) suggests that it was only a refuge and not a permanent settlement. This is confirmed by the fact that no tools of domestic use were found in the fortress during the excavation. (However, the acropolis was destroyed during an assault – any tools could also have been taken away by the fleeing inhabitants or by the conquerors.)

The layout of the Acropolis is irregular and depends on the structure of the underground. The small rooms and the narrow passages in between are only approximately rectangular. The surrounding wall is one to two meter wide and forms seven irregular bastions, which protect especially the flatter northern side. The single entrance is only 80 centimeter wide. A series of steps leads up to it. The walls, as far as they are preserved, consist of unprocessed stones which are put together without much care using a mortar made of earth. The whole complex is built of stones from the immediate vicinity. The roofs are believed to have been simple constructions of wood, reed and stamped earth.

Die Acropolis von Panormos
The Acropolis of Pánormos is located on a small, flat hill of only 63 meters height that lies amidst abandoned crop fields.

Die Acropolis von Panormos
The entrance is protected by two small bastions.

Die Acropolis von Panormos
The outer wall is reinforced by several irregular bastions of this kind.

Die Akropolis von Panormos
The the fortress is made up of about 20 small rooms with narrow passageways in between.

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