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KENCHREAI Argolis, Greece.

Probably to be identified with a site SW of Argos near the village of Paleo Skaphidaki, where Frazer saw marble fragments and foundation walls. Pausanias speaks of several polyandreia near Kenchreai, mass graves of the Argives fallen in the battle against the Spartans at Hysiai. The socalled Pyramid of Kenchreai at Helleniko near Cephalan has frequently been proposed as one of these tombs; it was apparently converted in antiquity to a fort or guard post. About 8.6 x 14.7 m, the limestone walls are preserved in some places to their full height of 3.4 m. The masonry is polygonal, arranged more or less in courses; above a low vertical base, the outer surface is dressed to a plane surface in the shape of a truncated pyramid. The interior was divided into rooms with an entrance passageway at one side; the outer and inner doors were barred on the inside and there are cuttings at the top of the wall for ceiling or roof beams.

Pausanias specifically describes another pyramid near the church of Haghia Marina 1.5 km W of Ligourio on the ancient road from Argos to Epidauros. There are only two courses remaining, also of limestone, but both show the slope of the pyramid; the plan, about 12.5 x 14 m overall, is similar to that at Helleniko. Pausanias says it was decorated with carved shields of Argive (round) shape. The masonry of both tombs has been dated in the 4th c. B.C. and the unusual shape explained by the traditional close connection between Egypt and the Argives from the time of their legendary conqueror Danaos, king of Libya; that 3000 Argive mercenaries were sent to Egypt in 349 B.C. is still more persuasive evidence.


Paus. 2.24.7, 2.25.7; J. G. Frazer, Paus. Des. Gr. (1895) III 212; L. Lord in Hesperia 7 (1938) 496fMPI; Y. Béquignon in RA, sér. 6.14 (1939) 48f.


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