Archaeological Museum of Chalkis "Arethousa"

The new Archaeological Museum of Chalkis "Arethousa" is housed in an industrial building that is declared a monument, is an exhibit itself and is a witness to the industrial activity of the early 20th century in the area of Agios Stefanos, where is the mythical source of Arethousa, from which took its name.

In the thematic exhibition of the new museum, diachronic issues of Political Organization, Economy, Cultural Identities and Cult are developed over time and representative exhibits from the prefecture of Euboea and Skyros are presented.

The exhibition is enriched with an interactive tour map of places of archaeological interest in Euboea and Skyros, documentaries and multimedia applications through which the interaction with the visitor is achieved. The Museum is accessible to the disabled. There is also a museum shop of the Organization of the Management and Development of Cultural Resources.

Political Organization

The aspects of political organization, as these evolve from the 3rd millennium

BC, through historical times, the Medieval fiefs up to the Ottoman period, feature

in this exhibition section. There stand out the Bronze Age Euboean sites with

town planning, the emergence of cities and city-states, the mints of Euboea and

Skyros and the appearance of new social groups. Highlighted exhibits from the

rich burials in the Heroon of Toumba at Lefkandi indicate the prosperity of Euboea

and the developed trade contacts with east Mediterranean in the 10th century

BC, a period of economic depression in the rest of mainland Greece. The political

landscape of antiquity changes in the Hellenistic times with the monarch as the

predominant figure who concentrates all powers. King in the Hellenistic period,

imperator in Roman times, by divine right emperor in the Byzantine era and sultan

in the Ottoman period. The strong presence of the Venetians on the island is

reflected on coins and sculptures of the Latin Rule.


The section includes objects that are associated with the primary sector of economy

and the Lelantine plain, a region rich in raw materials, especially clay, a field

of dispute between Chalkis and Eretria. It also brings to the fore the sector of

raw materials processing. Important have been the quarries of Euboea, where the

Karystian stone was extracted. Moreover, there are on display raw materials and

objects relating to the processing of metals, from Prehistory up to the Roman

period. Particular emphasis is placed on Palamari of Skyros, an important trading

post in the history of bronze circulation and processing in the third millennium


In addition, the sea trade from the Classical to Byzantine times is presented, and

exhibits relevant to commercial activity. The strategic position of the Venetian

Negroponte, the later Ottoman Egriboz, is highlighted.

Cultural Identities

The cultural communication and interaction networks include exhibits that are

classified into three major periods (Prehistory, Antiquity, Byzantine empire ? Latin

Rule ? Ottoman empire) and three geographical regions (Aegean, Mediterranean,

Europe). Among them stand out Cycladic figurines, Euboean and Attic

vases, a lintel of the Byzantine period, the statue of the Mother of God holding

Christ-child, a work of west art from Agia Paraskevi, and Ottoman tobacco pipes.

Multimedia applications link the cultural identities of the past with those of the


The textile that covered the burnt bones of the man in the Heroon at Lefkandi is

of great interest. It was transported from the National Archaeological Museum

and is exhibited for the first time in Euboea 40 years after it was found.


The exhibits presented relate to the cult in Euboea from the prehistoric time until

the prevalence of Christianity. Figurines and ritual vases are presented from prehistoric

Euboean sites. The exhibits featured aspects of historical period related

to deities of the Greek pantheon whose cult was widespread in Euboea. Moreover,

there are on display finds from Aulis, the Mycenaean cemetery at Mikro Vathy

and the sanctuary of Artemis Aulideia. There follows the introduction of eastern

deities into Euboea, such as Isis, Cebele and Serapis, as well as the phenomenon

of deification of mortals and heroes. This section concludes with the prevalence

of Christianity.

Colonisation ? Alphabet

The Second Colonisation (8th-6th century BC) is an organized expedition of a

metropolis to North Aegean, South Italy, Sicily and the Black Sea. The Euboeans

travel across the Mediterranean and pioneer in the founding of colonies in

North Greece, South Italy and Sicily. Euboean pottery items circulate throughout

the Mediterranean, as the characteristic skyphos with pendant semicircles in the


One of the most important achievements of the ancient Greek civilization is

the alphabetic script that was introduced at the end of the 9th or the first half

of the 8th century BC, a result of trade contacts with the Phoenicians. Euboea

is considered to be the birth place of the Greek alphabet. Commercial contacts

with the West and the founding of colonies lead to the spread of the alphabet.

The Euboean alphabet is adopted by the Etruscans and then by the Romans,

from whom derives the Latin alphabet that is used up to date. Here, we see on

display a loom weight and parts of vases with engraved inscriptions (graffiti) in

the Euboean alphabet.

History of the building-monument-museum

Distinct position in the exhibition holds the museum building itself, a monument

of industrial heritage, erected in the area of Agios Stephanos which is linked

with industrial activity. The old distillery and factory for the manufacture of

liquors with the brand name ?Arethousa? operated in the early 20th century, and

today houses the new Archaeological Museum of Chalkis. Iconographic material

and archive sources «enliven» the period of industrialization of Chalkis, but also

the development of the building through time. The distillery firm linked its name

with the myth of the nymph Arethousa and the homonymous nearby spring.

According to the Chalkidian version of the myth, the beautiful Arethousa made

love on the shores of Euripus with Poseidon and was transformed by Hera into a

spring. Ancient writers inform us about this spring. The local myth seems to have

been created during the Archaic times if not earlier, to justify the naming of the

city?s best known spring after the nymph.