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Dymokastro - Ancient Elina (?)

D(ē)ymokastro, also known as Erēmokastro, Elinokastro or Elimokastro, is a coastal fortified settlement founded during the second half of the 4th century BC on a hill south of Karavostasi Bay near Perdika, Thesprotia. It is probably identified with ancient Elina, the seat of the Thesprotian tribe of Elinoi, who inhabited, roughly, the area delimited by present-day Margariti, Plataria and Perdika. The settlement flourished during the Hellenistic Period and although it was devastated by the Romans in 167 BC, habitation continued well into the 1st century AD, probably due to its key coastal position, securing control over maritime routes along the Ionian Sea.

Dymokastro, covering an area of 22 hectares, consists of three sectors along the hill, enclosed within successive fortification circuits. During the time of its foundation, the habitation was restricted within the conventionally called “citadels” A and B” on the eastern part of the hill. In Hellenistic times, the fortification was expanded in order to include the western sector (“citadel” C), where the wall descended to the coast, protecting thus the ancient port.

Rather than being organized along the lines of a rigid urban plan, the layout of the settlement follows the natural configuration. The positioning of the buildings does not follow a uniform pattern, while the buildings themselves are quite distinct from each other in terms of their ground plan, size and structural details. Apart from individual houses, more elaborate building complexes are encountered. Three rock-hewn round cisterns served the collection and storage of rainwater.

No specific area for public buildings has been traced at Dymokastro. Nonetheless, buildings of public character have been unearthed in various parts of the site, such as a stoic building for the commercial activities of the population and a complex of two rectangular buildings associated with cult activities in “citadel” A and another shrine in “citadel” B. The settlement’s ancient cemetery, which included a burial mound, is located outside the fortification walls, on the foothill of the site.

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