The harbour of ancient Halieis

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The city of Halieis is located in the southern end of the Argolic peninsula, southeast of the Argolic bay, opposite Porto Cheli, at the closed bay that forms a natural harbour. It is 84km southeast of Nauplio, and 7km south of Kranidi.


Historical Development

The city of Halieis was founded short after the Persian Wars by Tirynthian refugees, after the submission of their city at Argos. Halieis join the Spartan League, when their city is captured by the Spartan Aneristos with one ship. After the 4th century BC the city declines and according to Pausanias it is abandoned at his time. However, there is some archaeological evidence that there is a small occupation during the Hellenistic and Roman and early Christian Times.


Selected Written Sources

Herodotus mentions the foundation of the city after the Persian Wars by the Tirynthians. Thucydides refers to the Athenian landings to the city during the Peloponnesian War, and Xenophon refers to the conflicts during the Corinthian Wars and the troubled era before 362BC. Finally, Pausanias mentions that the city was deserted during his time. The city, without reference to its port, is also mentioned by Strabo and Diodorus Siculus.

Selected Written Sources


The first excavations at the area took place in 1958-9 under the supervision of N. Verdelis, the head of the Department of Antiquities of Argolid and Corinthia. Since 1967, the universities of Indiana and Pennsylvania took responsibility for the archaeological research at Halieis, at Porto Cheli.



According to the researchers Halieis is a small, man-made harbour, with the surface area of 4km². Two circular castles are located in the center between the Eastern and Western side of the city. There is a gap of 20m between them, one is located North than the other, and they both form the mouth of the harbour. From the Southern castle, almost vertical to the modern coast and direction towards the North, there is a mole that leaves between its northern end and the second castle a gap of about 9m. The opening bares cutting marks and probably closed with a boom.



The northern end of the harbour consists of a part of the wall that was founded on the jetty for a considerable length east of the northern castle.



Although the theory that the above mentioned two towers formed the entrance of a small, shallow, enclosed harbour, is widely accepted, Frank Frost (1985) has challenged it in the First International Workshop of Ancient Mediterranean Harbours at Ceasaria Maritima. According to him, the archaeological evidence does not support the existence of a harbour and the vicinity of the two towers could possibly be the market place.



Θεοδουλου, Θ. /Theodoulou, Th.



Flemming N. C., 1968

‘Holocene Earth Movements of Earth Movements and Eustatic Sea Level Change in the Peloponnese’, Nature 217, 1031-2


The Histories VII 137, translation A. De Selincourt, Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth.

Jameson M. H., 1973

‘Halieis in Porto Cheli’, στον Blackman D. J. (ed), Marine Archaeology, Butterworths, London

Jameson M. H., 1969

‘Excavations at Porto Cheli and Vicinity, Preliminary report, I: Halieis, 1962-1968’, Hesperia 38, 311-342

Jameson M. H., 1963

‘Excavations at Porto Cheli’, Αρχαιολογικό Δελτίο 18

Jameson M. H. & C. K. Williams, 1966

‘Halieis’, Αρχαιολογικό Δελτίο 21


History of the Peloponnesian War, VII 12.3-4, I 105.1; II 56.4, IV 45.2, translation R. Warner, Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth

Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης

’ιβλιοθήκη Ιστορική XI 78.1-2, μετάφραση Φιλολογική Ομάδα Κάκτου, Κάκτος, Ο. Χατζόπουλος, Αθήνα


Ελληνικά I 5.10, μετάφραση Ρ. Ρούφος, Ωκεανίδα, Αθήνα


Ελλάδος Περιήγησις ΙΙ 36.1, μετάφραση Ν. Παπαχατζή, Εκδοτική Αθηνών, Αθήνα


Γεωγραφία VIII 6.11, μετάφραση Π. Θεοχαρίδης, Κάκτος, Ο. Χατζόπουλος

Φαρακλάς Ν., 1973

Ερμιόνη-Αλιάς, Αρχαίες Ελληνικές πόλεις 19. Αθηναϊκός Τεχνολογικός Όμιλος, Αθηναϊκό Κέντρο Οικιστικής (Hermioni-Halias, Ancient Greek cities 19).



Αργύρη Ξανθή / Argyri Xanthi


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