A few days ago, at the amphitheatre of the Acropolis Museum and as mentioned on the Archaeological land registry website, the Minister of culture, Mrs Lina Mendonis, presented the first phase of development for the Archaeological Land registry that includes more than 18,000 monuments, 3,800 archaeological and historical sites and finally 845 protected zones.
What is the Archaeological Land Registry?
Essentially, the Archaeological Land and Registry is a digital archive that covers the entire cultural reserve of the country. Through it and throughout the Territory, the Services of the Ministry of Culture and the cooperating management bodies will be able to know the identity, location and state of the preservation. They will also be able to determine and understand the physical elements, cultural heritage of sites, the legal and management status combined with how accessible and usable these are today.
The Archaeological land registry is a modern tool, necessary for the supervision, protection and promotion of Kefalonias’ cultural heritage and investments, as it identifies the boundaries of the protected areas. It serves to protect against all kinds of mistreatment, irrational management and exploitation of public property. It gathers all the necessary information on spatial planning in areas where monuments currently exist. The register can also aide in providing information on scientific research and education and assist the public administration, local government and professional bodies.
The Municipality of Sami and the Archaeological Land Registry
Kefalonia has a rather large number of protected zones, archaeological sites, historical sites and natural monuments of the prehistoric, classical, Roman, Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods. When looking closely at the Municipality of Sami, it has a vast history that some could say is ‘lost in the depths of millennia’ with innumerable monuments and points of interest within the village.
- Vigla Hill, here, on the western foothills was an ancient city that had a plethora of walls and tombs of the classical and Hellenistic period. There are two ancient acropolises of Sami with walls that occupy the hills of Paleokastro and Agios Fanentes.
- In Alpovouni remnants were discovered of an ancient temple while in Loutro parts of the aqueduct, the wall and tomb were located.
- Close to the sea area, a historical site was discovered with relics of the ancient port. These remnants resembled the post-Roman and early Christian era with its Roman city, baths, public buildings, internal port and aqueduct relics, as well as ruins of a medieval settlement in Cheka.
- There are many Churches and cemeteries. There is the Holy Monastery of Agrili with its remarkable bell tower and the wood-carved temple of the 18th century. The ruined Byzantine monastery of AgiosFanedes, as well as the Holy Church of Agios Nikolaos with its remarkable post-Byzantine frescoes on the hill of Agios Fanedes.
- Within the administrative boundaries of Poulates, there is the Hill of Agios Theodoros. At the top of the hill and further south one can find preserved relics of a Mycenaean house and various relics from the prehistoric period as well as the nave of the Taxiarches that has a Latin inscription on the southeastern slope of the hill. Cave of Fytidi, Dolini Hiridoni, the Cave of Angalaki and the Barbarians of Savior 1 and 2 and Agios Theodoros can also be found within this region.
- Most commonly known, there is the archaeological site of the Melissani lagoon (lake). Over the years, an islet formed and archaeological artefacts have been found. The latter date back to the late 4th and early 3rd centuries BC and are possibly related to the use of the site as a place of worship of the Nymphs and the Banner.
- At the archaeological site of Pyrgiou, remains of an ancient fortress with double walls were found. Within it, there is a semi-circular building and a Hellenistic-era cistern. The fort was a border bastion of the ancient city of Pronni bordering with ancient Sami.
- Other archaeological sites recorded were Kastrios and Rachi Koulourakita, the Caves of Drogaratis, Agia Eleousa, Zervati and Spilios, the Holy Temples of Agios Spyridonas Grizotas, Agia Paraskevi Latavinata and the Holy Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Grouspas were recorded.
Moving slightly across to the Municipality Units of Pylaros and Erisos there is a rich record of archaeological and historical sites. Some examples include:
- Along the northeast coast of our Municipality, which extends from Agia Efimia to Fiskardo, there is a large number of monuments, mainly of the Byzantine, post-Byzantine and modern era.
- The archeological site of Palatia – Liostasia – Karavostasi in AgiaEfimia, remains of retaining walls and buildings have been preserved and are still standing. This can be seen especially in Palatia and in the SE. slope of the hill Mega Vouno, as there are remnants of buildings from the Hellenistic period preserved at a sufficient height, probably towering 13 by 9 meters.
- At the Enelios Archaeological Site of The Bay of Yiangana in Erisos, there is a prehistoric shipwreck most likely from the second and third Proto-Hellenic periods.
- There is a fortified Hellenistic orchard at the top of the hill of the Archaeological Site Pyrgos in Erysos Plagia. There is also a monument of Agios Athanasios.
- Along the protected zones of Fiskardos peninsula, stone artefacts from the Paleolithic era were found, while in the SE part of the peninsula there are visible remains of a well preserved early Christian Basilica. Shells from most likely the Roman times were found on the surface and nearby a Venetian lighthouse stands proudly preserved.
- The so-called Mill of Karusos dates back to recent years. In the same area, a mausoleum of from the Roman times, an extensive building complex, a cemetery, a Roman period oak, a small theatre – conservatory with orchestra, a mausoleum or nymphaeus carved into the rock, as well as the ruins of the Holy Monastery of Platytera were found.
- Caves and architectural remains of the classical and Hellenistic eras are gratefully preserved in the cave mountain and finally in the archaeological site south of Fiskardo Bay, a shipwreck from Roman times was been found.
In addition to the above protected zones, archaeological and historical sites, there are dozens of other monuments recorded throughout our Municipality, such as the Holy Temples, private and public buildings, building complexes, windmills, the Fortress of Assos, museums and collections that are important hubs that require protection and promotion of our culture.
The exploitation of our archaeological wealth
It is true that we are fortunate enough to live in a place where its history is lost in the depths of millennia. In a gifted place, with a human presence from the Paleolithic era and where nature itself has determined successive times its evolutionary course and in large part the civilization that has developed in it from time to time.
It is also indisputable, that culture is a multi-layered concept that occupies a wide range of human and not just activity. And in our parts man is inextricably linked to the concept of culture, but also to the natural environment which in our case is also the same generator of civilization. After all, as the Minister of Culture has said, nature, culture, history and the environment are three interdependent concepts, which are ultimately employees of the fourth i.e. The environment with its dual status – nature and culture.
As a whole, the natural and cultural environment must be protected by all of us. By utilizing the Archaeological Land Registry, amongst other avenues, ensures that Sami and its villages are not forgotten. Each in his own way, and even all together can in an effort with more coordinated organizational characteristics help. Possibly even with the creation of a municipal body that will have at its core the emergence of our course where over time will have the footprint that each generation and nature left behind.
The ultimate goal should be to transform all the points of interest of the archaeological land registry and use those that will be integrated in the future, into a living visiting mosaic that is extremely and rarely found especially in a small place like ours. With an organized plan and use of all modern instruments and capabilities, available financial tools and/or private sponsorship programs this certainly can be achieved.
If we treat, protect and highlight the nature, culture, history and environment of our country with respect and plan, then we will have turned Sami, Pylaros and Erisos into an open-air living museum and an essential pole of education and culture. One must not forget the added value that such a prospect would create and the boost it would essentially give to our tourism product. It truly would incalculable.
Translation – Maria Alysandratos