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DYSTOS Euboia, Greece.

The ancient site is to be associated with a rocky outcrop of conical shape, some 300 m high, along the main road from Chalkis to Karystos (ca. 20 km SE of Aliveri). It is prominently located in the middle of a marshy basin which is partially transformed into a lake during the rainy season. (There is some evidence to indicate that efforts were made to drain the basin in antiquity.)

Dystos is thought to have been founded by the Dryopians, early inhabitants of S Euboia, but little is known of its subsequent history. Surface reconnaissance has shown that the site was occupied in prehistoric and Classical times, and there is epigraphical evidence to indicate that it had become a deme of Eretria at least by the mid 4th c. B.C. It continued to be occupied in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and substantial remains of a Venetian castle are to be found at the crest of the hill.

Impressive remains of the Classical town can still be seen on the lower slopes of the hill. These remains were partially surveyed and subjected to brief excavation by a German expedition in 1895. A fortification wall of large stone masonry, about two-thirds of whose circuit is preserved, enclosed the town. One of the best preserved stretches is that at the E where, in the neighborhood of the main city gate, the wall stands to a height of about 3 m. Numerous buildings thought to be largely residential in character still can be seen at several points within the fortifications. The largest of these is House J, near the wall in the SE part of the town. Its plan is complete, and its well-dressed stone walls are exposed to a level above that of the ground floor. This and other houses here have been dated to the 5th c. B.C. and, therefore, are among the earliest known examples of domestic architecture of the Classical period in Greece. The extent and preservation of the walls and other buildings render this site worthy of further archaeological investigation.


T. Wiegand, “Dystos,” AthMitt 24 (1899)PI; F. Geyer, Topographie und Geschichte der Insel Euböa (1903); L. Sackett et al., “Prehistoric Euboea: Contributions Toward a Survey,” BSA 61 (1966)M.


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