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Kerameikos Site

Demetria and Pamphile

The photo above is the funerary monument of Demetria and Pamphile in the Street of Tombs. This tombstone is a replica of the original in the Oberländer museum inside the Kerameikos site.

The Kerameikos site includes the boundary area between inside and outside of the ancient Athens. The area is named Kerameikos because it was in the ancient "deme" (administrative unit) Kerameis, that derived from the god Keramos, patron of the ceramic artisans.

Practical Information (Summer 2005)

One of the most ancient graveyard of Athens is situated in this site, and the visitors can see how the graves were arranged on roadsides. This area started to be used as graveyard at the end of the third millennium BCE. In the geometric period, elaborated grave markers were used; the famous example is the Dipylon Amphora (middle of the eighth century BCE), now in the National Archaeological Museum. It is called "Dipylon" amphora, exactly because it was found near the Dipylon gate, in the Kerameikos site (although the Dipylon gate was constructed in the fifth century BCE). Other types of elaborate grave markers were used through the archaic and the classic period. The Athenian funerary art ended when Demetrios of Phaleron proposed to ban the use of conspicuous graves in 317 BCE.

Also important in this site are the two ancient gates of Athens, the "Sacred Gate" (to the Sacred Road - Hiera Odos) and the "Dipylon Gate", and some parts of the ancient circuit wall. They were constructed as part of the fortification project by Themistokles in the fifth century BCE.

The Oberländer Museum inside the site exhibits most important finds from the excavations in the Kerameikos and around.

When I visited the site July 2002, there were very few visitors and I even found a dead cat in the middle of the site. When I revisited here September 2005, however, I found the site more organized and tidy, and most importantly, the Oberlaender Museum now exhibits several important archaic statues from the excavation of 2002.


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