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Eretria

Eretria is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by many famous writers and actively involved in significant historical events. Excavations of the ancient city began in the 1890s and have been conducted since 1964 by the Greek Archaeological Service (11th Ephorate of Antiquities) and the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece.HistoryPrehistoryThe first evidence for human activity in the area of Eretria are pottery shards and stone artefacts from the late Neolithic period (3500-3000 BC) found on the acropolis as well as in the plain. No permanent structures have yet been found. It is therefore unclear whether a permanent settlement existed at that time.The first known settlement from the Early Helladic period (3000-2000 BC) was located in the plain. A granary and several other buildings as well as a pottery kiln have been found so far. This settlement was moved to the top of the Acropolis in the Middle Helladic period (2000-1600 BC), because the plain was flooded by the nearby lagoon. In the Late Helladic period (1600-1100 BC), the population dwindled and the remains found so far have been interpreted as an observation post. The site was abandoned during the Middle Ages.Archaic to Roman periodThe oldest archaeological finds date the foundation of the city to the 9th century BC. It was probably founded as the harbour of Lefkandi, which is located 15 km to the west. The name comes from the Greek ἐρέτης, erétēs, rower, and the verb ἐρέσσειν/ἐρέττειν, eréssein/eréttein, to row, which makes Eretria the "City of the Rowers". Eretria's population and importance increased at the same time as Lefkandi began to decline in importance from c. 825 BC onwards. The natural superiority of Eretria's harbour and the importance of trade to the Euboeans is one explanation for this gradual population migration from Lefkandi to Eretria.
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