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Culture Archaeology Archaeological Sights Settlements Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Prefecture of Rodopi Municipality of Maronia

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29/11/2007
Byzantine Maroneia

Aikaterinh Balla
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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In the Early Christian and Byzantine times, Maroneia preserved its name. Though confined in a short area next to the sea, Maroneia was a flourishing city-harbour in the northern Aegean during the Byzantine period playing a key role in the region. From the 4th century on, it is cited as a bishopric seat, which was later detached from the Metropolis of Traianoupolis in the mid 5th century AD and reached the range of the Autocephalous Archdiocese, dependant on the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The archaeological research in Byzantine Maroneia began in the 1960s and revealed important architectural complexes, monuments and numerous finds.

Funerary inscriptions and Early Christian vaulted tombs were revealed in the position Parathyra.

The atrium of a 6th century large basilica with mosaic floors, now detached, was revealed in the position of Parathyra near Aghios Charalambos. A cemetery of the dark ages and part of the Byzantine settlement were also uncovered.

On the position of Synaxis, there is an important Byzantine monastery that seems to have been built on the ruins of a Justinian three-aisled basilica with a transverse aisle. Its east part is triconch-shaped and constructed with curved marbles from a Roman heroon. During reconstruction works, the triconch sanctuary was restored and the mosaic of its NW chapel was detached and placed anew.

Some of the Byzantine Maroneia findings include the part of a bathhouse from the times of Justinian I as well as a church niche, under an 11th-12th centurys church, in which a wall painting with a leaf-bearing cross is preserved. The wall painting dates to the second phase of the Iconomachy.

Ruins of a Byzantine fortification with ramparts are preserved near the harbour of the ancient and Byzantine Maroneia and the coastal settlement of Aghios Charalambos. Parts of the wall survive to an appreciable height, while some characteristic built grape-pressing vats are preserved at the external corners of the quadrilateral and round towers, probably meant for public use.

There is also a great number of glass pottery items from the Byzantine Maroneia dating from the 9th-10th centuries AD to the era of Paleologi, as well as metal crosses and numerous marble architectural members and other finds.

Remains of small churches were traced in Aghios Georgios, the abrupt mountaintop east of the ancient Maroneia. In the position of Patos a part of a closure panel along with a small pillar attached to an Early Christian pulpit were revealed, while in the position of Koumvouki an inscribed part of a lintel was found.

During the post-Byzantine times (17th18th centuries), pirate incursions obliged the inhabitants to abandon the coastal area and establish the modern village of Maroneia at a distance of 4 km far from the sea.