Two Mycenaean vaulted tombs are also reference points for the Neolithic settlement of Dimenion, which probably also hides Jason’s palace!
One of the most important archaeological discoveries, which caused the admiration of all of Europe, and which are still the oldest discovered settlements of the Neolithic period in Old Epirus, are located a breath away from the center of Volos and await more highlighting, exploitation and promotion.
These are the settlements of Dimini and Sesklos, not unknown, but perhaps without the attention that should have been paid to them.
The most important of the two settlements is its Neolithic settlement Biminilocated on a low hill and according to archaeologists, it is estimated that it was inhabited for the first time somewhere in beginning of the 5th millennium.
Its architectural remains extend over the hill giving the image of an organized Neolithic settlement that presents a unique architectural element: the six stone enclosures, built around the settlement in pairs. The houses they were located around the central courtyard or in the space created between the pairs of precincts, they are large and have auxiliary side buildings that leave between them an unoccupied space for a communal courtyard.
In the decades-long excavations, the findings include stone and bone tools, figurines and jewelryas well as abundant pottery, both written and engraved, which is the pinnacle of Neolithic ceramic art.
The archaeologist Vasiliki Adrymi – Sismanis showed with her findings that Dimini was not abandoned at the end of the Late Neolithic, but was inhabited for a long period of time continuously until the end of the Bronze Age, while in the middle of the 15th c. e.g. the first ones were built Mycenaean houses which succeeded earlier Middle Helladic palaces.
The houses were built to the right and left of a wide road and the whole settlement spreads over an area of more than 100 acres.
The greatest discovery in Dimini was and remains the two imposing Mycenaean vaulted tombs, the “Lamiospito” and the “Tuba» which are attributed without any doubt to the kings of the settlement and are considered by archaeologists to be similar to those of Mycenae.
The two Mycenaean vaulted tombs are points of reference for the Neolithic settlement of Dimini, and according to the reports of the Ministry of Culture the smallest, but also the oldest, is the one called “Lamiospito”.
The entrance to the dome of the “Lamiospitus” was through the entrance (height 3 m, length 2.20 m and width 1.90 m), which is covered with four large slabs, which form its lintel, above which there was the relief triangle. The dome, with a diameter of 8.20 m and a height of 8.10 m, was built according to the exhortational system, probably with the use of wooden forms, traces of which are not visible. It is built with small irregular limestone stones without binding material, which are particularly reinforced at the base. The floor has been formed by leveling the limestone rock.
The upper part of the dome covered a large round plate, “the key”. The tomb yielded few but important finds, mainly glass jewelry, ivory objects, and bronze weapons, which were transferred and are now on display at the National Archaeological Museum.
The possible relationship with Jason
In many cases, the identification of the archaeological site of Dimini with that of Iolkos was mentioned and that perhaps the discovered palaces belong to Jason and the explorers of that period.
Today, led by the director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Magnesia, Athina Batsiou and the deputy, Elisavet Nikolaou, “excavations continue and are constantly expanding”.
As Mrs. Nikolaou explained, “specifically, in the center of the settlement, a large complex consisting of two large mansions flanked by other smaller buildings and connected by an internal courtyard was investigated. Building A, as we call it, consists of two wings of rooms connected by a corridor. In the north wing are the main accommodation areas, while in the south wing are the auxiliary and laboratory areas. A stone scale with three inscribed Linear B symbols was discovered in one of them, while stone dies and other tools related to metallurgy were found in the corridor. The walls of Megaron A are quite well preserved, at a sufficient height and are plastered, like the floors, with white plaster. To the north and to the south of the building, two independent warehouse wings are developed. Mansion A was destroyed and abandoned by its occupants at the end of the 13th century. – beginning of the 12th century e.g.”.
The archaeologist Elisavet Nikolaou, speaking about the other findings of the excavations, emphasized that “Building B also includes two wings of rooms separated by a corridor. And this was completely destroyed by a strong fire at the end of the 13th century – beginning of the 12th century. e.g. Its walls were covered with a plaster of clay that was excellently preserved in some places by the fire, while its floor was made of a thick layer of clay reinforced with lime and gravel. A large amount of pottery and charred botanical remains were found in the warehouses of the ancient complex, while a raised clay altar was discovered in the prodrome.”
The vaulted tomb “Toumba” excavated in 1892 by V. Stais, was found trapped and is not kept in good condition, since its dome has collapsed up to the height of the portal. It is better constructed than the vaulted tomb “Lamiospito”, and dates – according to its architectural form – a little later than it. From the few fragments of vessels found in the excavation of the road leading to the dome, the last use of the tomb can be dated to the Late Bronze Age, i.e. the 13th century. e.g.
The tomb consists of the dome and a long road, the sides of which are supported by stone-built retaining walls, which at their junction with the dome are 4.00 m high and are preserved in excellent condition. At the western end of the road, the wall of the last barrier of the tomb is preserved. The entrance to the vault of the tomb was through an opening covered by three large carved portal stones 0.45m thick. The inner plate of the transept is carved to follow the form of the dome.
The dome has been constructed according to the exhortation system and is built with small limestone stones without binding material. The stones at the base of the vault are large hewn cobblestones and are founded on the limestone bedrock that has been leveled to form the floor of the vaulted tomb, where a built urn was discovered to house the burial bed.
Although the tomb was found arrested, some finds, mainly small gold and glass jewelry, escaped the attention of antiquarians and these gifts are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Today, brave financial support is required from the State, for the continuation of the excavations in the Neolithic settlement of Dimini and above all the systematic highlighting, promotion and promotion of the extremely important archaeological site, as requested by the Municipality of Volos, since among other things it is a point of reference and of great interest for thousands of tourists arriving from the cruise ships at the port of Volos.
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