The submerged town of Pavlopetri is situated in shallow water between the beach of Pouda at Viglafia (near Neapoli) and the islet of Pavlopetri, opposite the island of Elafonisos. The architectural remains of this prehistoric town, visible at a depth of about three meters, were discovered in 1904 by Fokionos Negris.
The site was first occupied in 3500 BC, making it one of the oldest known submerged cities in the world. The buildings, spread over six hectares, were divided into smaller rooms and in some cases had inner courtyards. At least six prehistoric roads were traced.
What was found among the ruins were stone-lined graves, probably from the Meso-Helladic period and in adherence with the practice at the time of burying infants and small children within the settlement. At the edge of the town under two small reefs are two Mycenaean chamber tombs. On the beach at Pouda is an extensive prehistoric cemetery of cist graves dating from the 3rd and 2nd millenia BC. Of particular interest are the ceramic vessels known as pithoi found at the site, in which the prehistoric inhabitants of Pavlopetri stored their wheat, oil and other products such as figs and olives, fish and meat. Other pots found there indicate they had developed close links with Kythera, Crete, the Cyclades and the north-eastern Aegean.
The settlement appears to have been abandoned in about 1100 BC. Pavlopetri occupied a prominent prehistoric place in the southern part of the Maleas promontory and was one of, if not the most important ports in the southern Peloponnese as it monitored shipping from the ports of southern Laconia to the Aegean and the western Mediterranean.
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Image Credit: Protothema