Home > Korinthian Matters > The Corinthian Countryside: The Site of Ano Vayia

The Corinthian Countryside: The Site of Ano Vayia

As noted already on this blog (New Research on the Corinthian Countryside: Vayia Microregion), David Pettegrew and I worked to document a series of Late Classical-Hellenistic monuments in the Vayia Microregion this past July.  While our official report on our work will hopefully be complete by the winter, we can preview some of the results of our research here. 

Our primary goal this summer was to document the architecture from a site that we called “Ano Vayia” (or upper Vayia) so as not to be confused with Vayia proper — a recently documented multi-period site with an important Early Bronze Age component.  The site is situated on a low hill immediately to the south of the Vayia peninsula. Today the hill is heavily wooded making an ascent from the coast rugged going.  It is possible, however, to walk up to the top of the rise from the southwest where the hill slope is less crowded with trees and brush and gentler in aspect.  The eastern side of the hill drops away quite abruptly above a seasonal torrent known as the Vayia River.  While the hill is quite steep, the top of the hill does have a small level area, and our site is located on the western side of this level area overlooking the Vayia river.


The site itself consists of a north-south oriented building filled now with the tumble from its collapse.  The best preserved feature of this building is its particularly imposing western wall.  This western wall shows the rough-polygonal style masonry that is so common in the Late Classical-Hellenistic Corinthia. The stones, some of which exceed a meter in length, are slightly trimmed to fit with one another.


This wall faced the small level area on the top of the hill.  The rest of the building consisted of less well constructed walls, several of which might represent later phases.  The northern part of the north-south building shows the clever use of exposed bedrock outcroppings. 


To take full advantage of the exposed bedrock, the wall runs at an oblique angle to the rest of the building.

Perhaps the most interesting feature on the site of Ano Vayia is the remains of a round tower immediately to the east of the north-south structure.  While only the lowest courses of this tower are preserved, there is enough remaining for us to estimate it’s diameter at a little over 6 meters.  The stones in the outer face of the wall are neatly drafted with the curved profile of the tower’s circumference.  Initially we were concerned about whether this  tower stood to any substantial height since so little of the tower was preserved.  A quick look down the steep eastern slope of the hill, however, revealed several cascading piles of tumble made almost entirely of blocks with the familiar curved shape of our tower.


We were able to date this little compound of buildings based on ceramic materials scattered around the hill top and embedded in the tumble of the north-south building.  This summer we prepared a stone-by-stone illustration of the walls.



Stay tuned for more archaeology of the Ano Vayia Microregion…

Categories: Korinthian Matters
  1. Kostis Kourelis
    July 30, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Nice work on Upper Vayia. Intriguing round tower. Any chance it might be post-classical (or even an early modern kalyvi). I’ll send you a drawing of an unpublished tower I discovered a few years ago on Movri Mountain in Achaia.

  2. July 30, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I don’t think that we ever considered it to be post-Classical. We haven’t found much in the way of post-Classical material in the area nor did we find any mortar, tile chinking, et c. that we would associate with post-Classical construction techniques. I’d be interested, nevertheless, to consider it. It seems likely that the tower either antedated the north-south structure (perhaps only by a few years) or post-dated that destruction of the north south building (i.e. post classical??). As we’ve interpreted it, its function would be to guard a pass (that I. Peppas has argued (somewhat persuasively) was fortified in the post-Classical period) and there would be no real need for a round tower if the rectangular buildings were already there.
    We have another round tower in the area, so any help with comparanda would be excellent.

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