The ancient city of Panormos can now be identified with certainty, based on epigraphic sources resulting from archaeological excavations, with modern Fiskardo. Its urban layout rests within the limits of the modern town as has been ascertained from the archaeological evidence. In antiquity it was a flourishing city with important monuments. The cemetery was identified by accident in 1993 during works for public utilities. Its investigation begun in 1993 under the direction of the archaeologist A. Sotiriou and lasted until 1997, with long gaps. The cemetery area continues under the adjacent road and the neighbouring properties.
In total, 51 tombs have been investigated dating from the 2nd to the 4th cent. BC, which can be categorized as follows:
? 13 above-ground cist tombs. Their four sidewalls project above ground and are built with the techniques of opus incertum or opus testaceum.
? 17 cist tombs sunk into rectangular shafts cut in the bedrock
? Three small monumental tombs built on a stepped stone platform. Their superstructure is not preserved. It is reasonable, however, to assume that they were barrel-vaulted, as is tomb XXII. The vault was not built in its entirety but was truncated and covered horizontally by large rectangular slabs. ? Five tile-graves, paved and covered with roof tiles.
? Two shaft graves, of which XV remained incomplete, whilst XXXI was hastily cut. In the latter a wooden coffin had been employed for the burial.
? Seven burials inside large vases, mainly amphoras. They were usually burials of infants and small children. ? Four sarcophagi, of which only two were found in their original depositional setting. They are monolithic burial monuments covered with gabled coverstones. On one (sarcophagus XVIII) is partially preserved a sculpted female figure in a reclining position. The most prominent is the one depicting the abduction of Persephone. From left to right are depicted the goddesses Artemis and Athena chasing Pluto, the god of the underworld, who is standing on a chariot with Persephone in his hands.
? Of all tombs, ten (III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII) form a group inside a burial enclosure, whilst three others (the sarcophagi XVIII, XIX and tomb XX) lay within a burial monument-mausoleum. With regard to the layout of the mausoleum, it can be assigned to the temple-shaped type. It is articulated into an antechamber followed by the main burial chamber.
The buried were accompanied by various offerings, favourite objects during life: glass and clay vases (perfume bottles and vases for eating and drinking), ornaments of gold, bronze, and bone (rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pins, bronze mirrors etc.) and iron strigils related to athletic competitions. The coin for Charon (mainly bronze coins and gold coin-shaped foils), placed in the hand or in the mouth of the dead was considered the necessary fee to pay to the Charon/ferryman for the journey to the world of the dead. Necessary were also considered the lamps to illuminate the way to the underworld. The study of the skeletal remains reveals that the tombs were for families. The secondary burials is a recurrent element, and ossuaries are not unknown. Moreover, there is also a dog burial, probably accompanying its master. Funerary rituals can be inferred by the deliberate openings through the sarcophagi covers, and by lamp fragments around the tombs. Moreover, food remains and fragments of pottery for dining around the tombs suggest funerary feasting activities.
the findings are exhibited in the Sami Archaeological Collection