Actions to preserve and highlight the archaeological site of Lerna in Argolis

Actions for the protection and illumination of the archaeological site of Lerna – the current village of Myloni – one of the most important prehistoric sites in Greece, are carried out by the Ministry of Culture through the authorized Ephorate of Antiquities of Argolis.

The project, included in the Regional Operational Program of NSRF Peloponnese, covers the protection and maintenance operations of the “Ceramic House” and the fortified enclosure. The old roof that protects the “Ceramic House” needs to be restored, at the same time, a bioclimatic study is required to ensure a suitable microclimate for the preservation of the brick structures of the House, as well as to establish a rainwater drainage system.

Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni said: “Lerna, although a satellite city in the context of the mighty Mycenaean citadels of the Argolis, bears witness to the existence of a prehistoric settlement dating back to the Neolithic period, which reached its peak during the Mycenaean palatial period. According to myth, Lerna was the source of Amymonis, where the Hydra of Lerna, destroyed by Heracles, made its nest. Dating to the Proto-Helladic period around 2300-2500 BC, the “House of Widows” has been interpreted as an early palace administrative center or public use building. With the works carried out by the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture, the ancient monuments of Lerna are protected from the weather and other harmful factors, with the aim of preserving these important prehistoric documents in the best possible way and including them in the cultural route Mycenaean centers of Argolis ».

In order to prevent deterioration of the brick and plaster work of the “Ceramic House”, special studies have been prepared and ongoing repairs are being carried out. A study is being made for the construction of a protective shelter, a lightweight structure, as the main criterion for the protection of the reinforced cover is weather protection and adequate ventilation of brick structures, since deep foundations are not needed. .

The settlement of Lerna in the present-day village of Mylon, on the western side of the Gulf of Argolis, was occupied for about 5,000 years, from the Neolithic to the Mycenaean period (6th-1st millennia BC). A low artificial hill has been formed with successive residential layers. Houses belonging to the early and middle Neolithic period (6th-5th millennia BC) were studied in the deeper layers.

The great prosperity of Lerna is attributed to the Proto-Helladic II phase (2700-2200 BC), when the settlement was strongly fortified with a gate and two towers in the south. “Ceramic house” is a tile roof, built with stone on the foundation and mud brick on the superstructure, and it stands out among the rectangular, usually one-room houses of that time. On top of the ruined building of the “Ceramic House” in the Proto-Helladic III phase (2200-2000 BC), a stone covered mound was built, which was considered a kind of sign of respect for the glorious ancestors. Houses with rectangular and arched outlines have been found in the Early Helladic III phase and also in the Middle Helladic period (2000-1700 BC). During the transition period from the Middle Hellas to the Late Hellas (1700-1600 BC), two pit graves were opened in the ruins of the “Ceramic House”.

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