Just to the E of Cape
Zoster and the S end of Mt. Hymettos is a small plain,
in area little more than 3.2 km deep and 1.6 km wide,
its limits clearly marked by the sea to the S, Hymettos to
the W, and lesser hills to N and E. Until recently the
plain's center of habitation was at Vari, a town centrally located at the place where the coastal road from
Athens enters the plain on its W edge through a natural
break in the long chain of Hymettos. Today a second,
rapidly expanding, community has been established at
the seashore, with the name of Varkiza.
In Classical antiquity this plain was in all probability
the deme of Anagyrous, placed by Strabo in his list of
coastal demes after Halai Aixonides (with a sanctuary
at Zoster) but before Thorai (9.1.21), and described by
Pausanias as having as a notable feature a shrine of the
Mother of the Gods (1.31.1). While the position of this
last has not been established, no doubt surrounds the
location of the deme-center: It was at Vari, where a
great variety of remains have been unearthed, many illicitly. Even so, the picture they present is one of a city-state in miniature.
The hill directly W of Van and S of the road from
Athens can be considered the acropolis of Anagyrous.
Its peak is fortified by a low rubble wall; within this enclosure at the summit are traces of a building and perhaps an altar. The fort was occupied at least in the 5th c. B.C., and would have made an excellent signaling station.
Lower down the hill, on a ridge overlooking the town, is
a group of more than 20 closely set buildings of various
shapes—circular, rectangular, apsidal—from the archaic
period, whence was recovered literally thousands of offerings of terracotta and metal. Some, if not most, of these structures must have been places of popular worship. In another part of the hill, at the same level, is the foundation of a small Classical sanctuary. On the hill's lowest
slopes, to the E there are copious remains of walls and
building blocks from the living quarters of the Classical
settlement, while to the N, alongside the road from Athens, is a large cemetery with well preserved grave-terraces of the 5th and 4th c. B.C.
A second, and more important, cemetery lies a little
to the N of Vari, where graves and grave-enclosures from
Late Geometric to late archaic times have been either
excavated or pillaged. From here comes much of the
remarkable collection of early Attic black-figure pottery
displayed in the National Museum at Athens. These
funerary offerings, as well as some sculptured monuments originally from the same area, make it obvious that in the archaic period Vari must have been home for at least one rich aristocratic family.
A few isolated structures, probably farmhouses, have
been noticed elsewhere in the plain. One of these, on the
same slope of Hymettos as the Cave of the Nymphs but
lower, on a spur above a narrow valley entered from the
plain, has been recently excavated. It was a rural villa,
of the pastas type, with its rooms built around three sides
of a courtyard and screened by porticos. It had a short
existence, ca. 330-280 B.C.
C.W.J. Eliot, Coastal Demes of Attika
(with earlier references); S. Papaspyridi-Karouzou, Ἀγγεῖα τοῦ Ἀναγυροῦντος
(1963); B. Kallipolitis, Ἀνασκαφὴ τάφων Ἀναγυροῦντος
, ArchDelt 18 (1963)
; 20 (1965) Β. Χρονικά
J. R. McCredie, “Fortified Military Camps in Attica”
, Suppl. XI ) 28-29PI
; J. E. Jones, The
; id. et al., “An Attic Country
House below the Cave of Pan at Van,” BSA