previous next


Cycladic graves, figurines, and pottery have been found in various parts of the island, and there is a fortified acropolis site at Haghios Andreas. The town of Siphnos lay in the center of the E coast at modern Kastro; its acropolis and slopes have been excavated only partially as the site has been continuously inhabited from before 800 B.C. Among the discoveries were part of a probable circuit wall from that date, Geometric houses, and two 7th c. votive deposits containing pottery, figurines, and objects of ivory, bone, and bronze. Further walls and other signs of habitation dated from archaic Greek to Roman Imperial times. (There are also considerable mediaeval architectural remains.)

Herodotos calls Siphnos the richest of the islands ca. 525 B.C., mentioning a Parian marble prytaneion and agora (no traces have been found), and the treasury at Delphi (q.v.), built from a tithe on the gold and silver mines. Siphnians fought for Greece at Salamis, paid 3 talents a year to the Delian League, joined the Second Athenian Confederacy, and resisted Macedon, at least in the 330s. Some 40 so-called Hellenic towers are recorded. As the mines ceased to produce (those at Haghios Sostis were perhaps inundated), the island declined. Reasonably rich glass and other finds in the Roman cemetery indicate revival under the Early Empire. Various sarcophagi are reported. The island was (and is) known for its pottery; the ancient potter's Siphnian stone was probably a steatite, not the lead-slag favored by the modern workmen.


Hdt. 3.57-58, 8.46, 48; Isocr. 19.36; Syll.3 359 etc.; SEG 17.19; Theophr. Lap. 7.42; Diod. 31.45; Plin. HN 4.66, 36.159; Paus. 10.11.2; Arrian Anab. 2.2.4ff; Suda: ἰσοϋφεῖς, Σίφνιοι.

L. Pollak, “Von griechischen Inseln,” AthMitt 21 (1896) 188-228; H. Hauttecoeur, “L'ile de Siphne,” BSocBelgGeog 22 (1898) 183-203M; C. Tsountas, “Kykladika II,” ArchEph (1899) 73-134; C. Karousos, “Archaike Kephale Leontos en Siphnoi,” ibid. (1937) 599-603; J. H. Brock & G. M. Young, “Excavations on Siphnos,” BSA 44 (1949) 1-92PI; J. H. Young, “Ancient Towers on the Island of Siphnos,” AJA 60 (1956) 50-55P; K. Scholes, “The Cyclades in the Later Bronze Age: A Synopsis,” BSA 51 (1956) 9-40; A. G. Troullos, Siphnos (1961)MI; B. Philippaki, “He akropolis tou Hagiou Andreou Siphnou,” AAA 6 (1973) 93-103.


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