Tolofona - Eratini

The valley of Eratini is particularly interesting, given that archaeological research at various sites, together with the literary and other written sources, reveal its history throughout the centuries. During an excavation conducted near the church of Agia Paraskevi, at the coast of Tolophona, architectural remains and burials of the Middle Helladic period (2000-1600 BC) came to light. These, along with a related destruction layer, provide significant evidence for the domestic evolution of this littoral valley. On a steep hill in the valley significant remains of a fortification have been preserved, featuring cyclopean masonry of the Mycenaean times (1600-1100 BC). Our understanding of the fortification pattern is complimented with remains of defense works at the sites “Bouchouri” and “Palaiokastro Vitrinitsas”.

The Mycenaean pottery recovered from the littoral hill “Pitha” apparently suggests the colonization of this region as early as in the Mycenaean times. Equally important, however, is the fortification peribolos, as well as remains of a settlement of the classical-hellenistic period. Distinct are the square towers reinforcing the circuit-wall. All around “Pitha” hill systematic survey and excavation, not at all deep beneath the ground-level, have brought to light structural remains, foundations of houses with a propylon and storage spaces, as well as foundations of public edifices of the 3rd-2nd ct BC. The extent and significance of the antiquities located on this hill have driven to the identification of this thriving settlement with ancient Oiantheia, an important town in West Lokris.

At the foot of this hill and almost by the sea-side a Mediaeval tower was built with re-used blocks from the ancient fortification. Likewise, building material originating from either public edifices or the fortification was re-employed in the construction of the byzantine church of Mother Mary Evangelistria or “Polyporton” (i.e. with many doorways), dated on the turn from the 10th to the 11th ct. AD. Near it, a small Mycenaean chamber tomb had been destroyed. Finally at the site “Marathias” of Eratini illicit digging revealed a burial jar with grave-offerings of the 7th ct BC. Noteworthy among them are Corinthian aryballoi (vases for perfume and oil) and a faience scarab on display in the Archaeological Museum of Amphissa.
A. Tsaroucha, archaeologist