Panormos (Ani Kisseli) was built on the rocky slope of Mt Aghios Elias, a place of particular importance in antiquity. Inscriptions of the Hellenistic times (2nd ct. BC), uncovered in the broader area, led to the identification of this site with Festino, a town of West Lokris, which embraced in its domain one of the most prominent sanctuaries of the area, that of Apollo åí Öáéóôßíù.
To begin with, a manumission decree incised on a limestone orthostate (possibly of a temple) was found in the gulley of Vitrinitsa in 1919. Later, in 1946, near the churches of Agios Athanasios and Agios Vasileios, where an ancient retaining-wall has also been spotted, four more manumission inscriptions were found immured in a wall behind the church of Agios Vasileios. Two of them were engraved on a limestone slab supporting the church’s Holy Table. The inscribed texts involve acts of manumission, as if the slave was sold to the god, before the eyes of witnesses in the sanctuary of Apollo in Festino. The sale of slaves before witnesses, with the purpose of setting them free, was a widespread practice in Central Greece and especially Delphi.
At “Louza”, a site approximately 300m east of Agios Athanasios church, illicit digging yielded a pithos/jar positioned sideways in a deep trench. The pithos contained a richly furnished burial of the classical period (5th ct. BC). Outstanding among the grave-offerings are two aryballos-shaped lekythoi decorated with black palmettes and a black-glazed lekythos with vertical grooves. Among olive-trees to the NW of the village rest the remains of an ancient square watchtower (10m by 10m) built of large gray limestone blocks, also to protect the cultivated plots.
Further epigraphic evidence, of the 2nd ct. BC, retrieved from Messene, illuminates the local history. Decrees by seven towns pay tribute of honour to the sculptor Damophon from Messene, and also to his offspring, for his talent in fashioning or repairing cult statues, as well as for his benefactions and generous offerings. In the Hellenistic period Damophon was one of the most famous artists in southern Greece. Among the towns attributing honour was Oiantheia, in Lokroi Ozolae. It is stated in the decree by Oiantheia that the text should be written on a stele to be dedicated in the sanctuary of Apollo in Festino.