previous next

ARGURA Thessaly, Greece.

A city of Pelasgiotis, in antiquity identified with Homeric Argissa (Il. 2.738; Strab. 9.440; Steph. Byz. s.v.). It was on the left bank of the Peneios river, supposed to be 40 stades (ca. 7 km) from Atrax (Strab. 9.438). This has long been considered an ancient site at a prehistoric mound (Gremnos or Gremnos Magoula) about 7 km W of Larissa, just on the left bank of the Peneios. This identification was denied by Stählin, who placed Argura at an ancient site at Gunitza, ca. 8 km W of Gremnos Magoula, but the Gremnos-Argura identification has recently been reasserted by Franke and Milojćić. The history of the city is virtually unknown.

The prehistoric mound has been half carried away by the river. It served as the acropolis of the ancient city, which is otherwise in a flat plain. Excavations on the mound in 1955-58 turned up sherds from the Geometric through Roman periods as well as prehistoric. One well found in 1956 contained Classical, another early Hellenistic, pottery. A fragment of an early Classical terracotta revetment found on the mound may indicate the presence of a temple, perhaps to Artemis, to whom an inscription was found in the excavations. A test trench on the N side of the mound produced parts of two archaic-Classical buildings. Right at the river's edge below and a little to the E of the mound are a few courses remaining of a tower constructed of large rectangular blocks, which was built over the remains of an earlier one of polygonal masonry, and seems itself to have been rebuilt. It is conjectured that this was a late archaic tower rebuilt in the 4th c. B.C. From the mound the course of two concentric city walls can be seen to the NE and W, about 350-450 m away from the mound. The inner one is possibly archaic or Classical; the outer, Hellenistic. Investigations within the lower city area in 1958 turned up sherds of the 6th c. B.C. through the Hellenistic period, and some scanty remains of a public building and houses. The agora of the ancient city may have been in the flat area immediately to the E of the mound. Objects from the excavations and some found by chance are in the Larissa Museum.

A tumulus (Skismeni Magoula) ca. 2 km NW of Gremnos Magoula and 1 km N of the river was partially excavated in 1958-59. Under the edge of the mound were three stone sarcophagi, close to each other and radiating from the center of the mound. These were plain, and had each been lined with a wooden coffin, one of which was well preserved and contained fragments of clothing and a pillow along with the skeleton. One of the others contained a lekythos of the 4th c. B.C. No trace of a built tomb or other grave was found in the center of the mound. Between Gremnos Magoula and Skismeni Magoula was a Hellenistic necropolis on the road leading towards Gunitza. This was investigated in 1955 and 1958 and yielded a few objects. Some 70 m W-SW of the Hellenistic necropolis one of the Classical period was discovered in 1958. To the N of the road to Larissa from Gremnos Magoula, 2 km E of the mound, is a group of eight tumuli (Pente Magoules), perhaps Hellenistic grave mounds, but so far uninvestigated. By the road at this point Leake noted some ancient foundations and blocks, and a piece of a Doric column (chord of flute 6 inches).


W. M. Leake, Nor. Gr. (1835) III 367; IV 534; A.J.B. Wace & M. S. Thompson, Prehistoric Thessaly (1912) 54f; F. Stählin, Das hellenische Thessalien (1924) 99-100; V. Milojćić, AA (1955) 191-219MI; (1956) 166-79I; P. Franke, “Eine Bisher Unbekante Thessalische Münze aus Argura,” AA (1955) 230-36; H. Biesantz, AA (1957) 37-51PI; (1959) 74-76.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: