The Charchampolis or Archampolis gorge, an impressive landscape of wild natural beauty, is located between the villages of Thymi and Evangelismos in the Kafireas region of northwest Karystia in Euboea. Substantial remains of ancient buildings, still visible in this area, probably belong to a single organized settlement dating from the Classical period to the first century BC. Sparce evidence, however, indicates that the area was inhabited since the Archaic period.
The history and name of this settlement are unknown. Part of the architectural remains of the site belong to a cult building of the Classical period. Another building complex of the fourth and third centuries BC was identified as a rural estate, where mining was the main activity, as shown by the discovery of large amounts of iron slag, incineration wastes, and an iron smelting furnace on a nearby slope. Other nearby buildings of the Late Hellenistic period remained in use until Roman times, when the site appears to have been abandoned. The exact date or reason for this are unknown, but a dismembered skeleton and other scattered bones inside one of the buildings suggest a violent incident, possibly a devastating earthquake or violent attack. Indeed, the area was raided by King Mithridates and by pirates in 80 BC.
American archaeologist Donald Keller identified the excavated ruins at Archampolis with the ancient city of Aeges, mentioned by Homer. In a paper published before the beginning of the excavations, Keller mentions the caves near the gorge and the cult of Dionysus practiced there. A number of other cities, however, are mentioned in ancient sources as being located in the district of Kafireas, together with a lazaret, or quarantine station, and a sacred cave. What remains to be examined and clarified is whether the remains at Archambolis belong to an organized city or to a small miners' settlement partly populated by slave workers.
Although several nineteenth century travellers refer to Archambolis as a place of interest and significance, the site remains largely unknown to archaeologists. Angelos Choremis visited Archampolis in 1972, and Keller studied the site approximately fifteen years later, in 1986. Excavations by the Eleventh Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities began in 1989, revealing a number of important finds.