Early Byzantine-Era Settlement Unearthed Near Greece’s Kythnos Island



The newly-discovered settlement on the islet of Vryokastraki, just off the island of Kythnos. Source: Ministry of Culture

Significant finds that include an extensive early Christian church and early Byzantine buildings, as well as monumental structures from a much-older ancient sanctuary, have been unearthed by archaeologists on the rocky islet called Vryokastraki, opposite the ancient city of Vryokastro on the island of Kythnos.

Traces of ancient buildings on Vryokastraki. Source: Ministry of Culture

According to an announcement issued by the culture ministry on Thursday, the later proto-Byzantine construction activity was so intense that it disturbed the older buildings dating back to antiquity. In fact, many of the partially-ruined ancient remains were scavenged to build numerous walls and enclosures in later structures.

Ancient and Byzantine settlement on Vryokastraki. Source: Ministry of Culture

The site also revealed a wealth of ceramics dating to the sixth and the first half of the seventh centuries AD, after which the city of Kythnos was abandoned, its inhabitants moving to the Castle of Oria, the island’s medieval capital.

Pottery and sculptural fragments found at Vryokastraki. Source: Ministry of Culture

“The intense proto-Byzantine use of the rocky islet, which appears to have been the region where the city shrunk in later antiquity, lasts until at least the 7th century, at which time it is abandoned,” the researchers said, noting that this was also shown by finds made in two other locations which were investigated.

Source: AMNA