Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages

Archaeological Site of Keramikos

The archaeological site of Keramikos (Ceramic) is due to its name in ancient pottery workshops.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1863 A carriage ran over a piece of marble protruding from the ground and immediately afterwards, excavations of the area began.

    1870 Systemic excavations began.

    1913 Excavations are carried out by the German Archaeological Institute.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

    86 BC Destruction of Pompieion by the Romans of Sulla and replacement by a two-storey building-warehouse.

    267 AD Total destruction of Dipylon and Pompieion by the Heruli. Replacement of Pompieion with two stoas with common entrance.

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

    In the 4th century BC the wall was reinforced.

    478 BC Construction of Themistocles Wall, Dipylon and Sacred Gate.

    394 BC Renovation of the wall and the gates by Konon with Persian funding.

    388 BC Construction of a fortified enclosure that resulted in the destruction of part of the burial monuments.

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

    The oldest tombs date to the Early Bronze Age (2700-2000 BC).

    1100 BC Begins to systematically develop as a cemetery.

What I can see

The archaeological site of Keramikos consists mainly of walls and tombs. There is nothing like it in the greater Athens area. Upon entering the archaeological site, to the right, one can see the defensive wall of the city with its two gates, Dipylon and the Sacred Gate. The wall divides the area into sections, one inside and one outside the city. In the interior there used to be public buildings. Outside there are roads that start from the gates. On both sides, a large part of the Athens cemetery can be found. The wall was constructed during several phases, which is evidenced by the different types of stones and the wall’s various levels. The Sacred Gate, starting point for the Eleusinian Mysteries, got its name because of Iera Odos (Sacred Way). Under the modern Iera Odos, the continuation of the ancient road still exists. Passing through the Gate is a small river named Heridanos or –according to an alternative scientific view– the stream of Kessariani. Dipylon was the major gateway, the city’s main artery, which had two openings. You can also see traces of the four towers (instead of the original two of the Sacred Gate), which enhanced its fortification. On the side of the interior and between the two gates, Pompieion was located, where items used in the Panathenaic celebrations were kept. Finally, on the outer side, northeast of the Dipylon, there is the Public Sign, the most important cemetery of the city, where warriors and renowned Athenians were buried. Here, one can find masterpieces of sculpture, in which the realism in the expression of pain and sadness touches the visitor. The place has very interesting stories to tell, such as that of the “Dipylon Wine Jug” (see, but also through the engraved ancient slogans.

What I can't see

The area takes its name from the laboratories that were located on this spot in ancient times. According to another -mythological- version, it comes from Keramos, son of Dionysus and protector of the potters. From the 12th century BC onward, the local inhabitants buried their dead here. The long history of Keramikos has given us burial masterpieces of all periods, from giant amphoras to statues. Ιn front of the wall, a moat filled with water, was useful for the defence. Today, it is covered with soil. On the right of the Sacred Gate, one can see foundations of Roman era laboratories, even though excavations revealed large private houses of the classic era below them. The Dipylon, as we see it today, dates from the Conon era (4th century BC) but was originally built during Themistocles’ days (5th century BC). The Dimosio Sima (Public Sign) is where Pericles delivered his famous Funeral Oration for the dead of the Peloponnesian War. Unfortunately we cannot see the Dimosio Sima in its entirety, as it extends underneath Pireos Street and a large part of the neighbourhood of Keramikos inside the modern city. 


Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London

Travlos J., (1980), Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, New York: Hacker Art Books

Galanou E., Grapsa O., (2000), Διαφάνειες της σημερινής Αθήνας, βιώνοντας την πόλη, [Slides of today’s Athens, experiencing the city] στο Αθήνα, το πρόσωπο της πόλης [Athens, the face of the city] (2000), conference, p.p. 131- 142

Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore

Kontarou- Rassia N., (2013), Ο Ηριδανός τρέχει στην Καισαριανή, [Eridanus flows in Kessariani],

Last visit 16/2/2015

Mpanou, Ε. S., Mpournias, L. Κ. (2014) Κεραμεικός, [Kerameikos], Athens: I.S. Latsi Foundation

Bournias L, (2014), Με αφορμή κάποια graffiti στον Κεραμεικό, αρχαία και μη, [On the occasion of some graffiti in Kerameikos, ancient and not], in Lifo, (2014), Η Ιστορία μιας πόλης, [The History of a city], v. 2, p.p. 63-65

Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994), Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία [Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros