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Tripimeni Petra

Τρυπημένη Πέτρα

 

Part of a building complex with the character of a fortress was excavated in 1992 and 1993. Standing s? a elevation in the ground at Tripimeni Petra, it consists of a fortress building with five sides, which covers an area of about 4,000 m2 and occupies a prominent position from which it can control the entire area as far as the sea, and, of course, the road.

 

The outer wall of the fortress, which is built of limestone blocks up to a certain height and mud block above it, was roofed with Laconia tiles. The complex has three rectangular towers on the sides from which it was vulnerable, the north, east and northeast. The entrance was in the west side, which had a less pronounced slope and was therefore more accessible to wheeled vehicles. The outer wall on this side is thicker than the others and is reinforced by interior buttresses. On the south side, the fortress was protected by a moat, which is still preserved.

 

 

The east tower had two contiguous rooms, an internal staircase and an upper storey. The north tower is rectangular, and is set in the middle of the wall on this side. Half of it projects from the wall and was knocked down by the mechanical digger during the widening of a modern country road, revealing part of a slab inscribed with a musical text built in second use into this tower. The northeast tower, which is slightly trapezoidal in plan and was built of massive limestone blocks, can be accessed only from the interior of the fort.

 

The complex is designed around a large, internal courtyard of trapezoidal shape, around which various areas were arranged. On the south side are three rectangular rooms, also with two storeys, as it evident from the built staircases between them. The number and arrangement of the rooms on the north side is not known, though several pithoi were found, however, and it is probable, in view also of the favourable orientation of these rooms, that they were used to store gain and other, liquid products.

 

In total, the outlines of only seven rooms have been uncovered, and only one of these, in the inner northeast corner, was excavated to any depth. That they were used as an oil-press became apparent at once from the fact that they were equipped with a large stone trapetum above a conduit - the main conduit of the building, used to carry the waste from processing the olives away from the complex - and from the large quantity of crushed olive pits found in the area immediately to the south. Two stone mills, possibly for grinding grain (speciality corn), were also discovered in the southwest room.

 

The room of the oil-press provided a wealth of chronological evidence. In the thick layer associated with the destruction of the roof were found coins issued by Perseus, which dates the destruction of the fort to 168 BC, the year in which the Romans dissolved the Macedonian kingdom. The coins on the floor of the same room belong to the reign of Philip V, while below it were found issues dating from the late 4th century or the early 3rd, and one issued by Philip II. The foundation of the fort is assigned to the time of this last king, when it consisted of a smaller kernel with different masonry, located in the area of the oil-press its destruction was associated with the presence of the Romans in Macedonia after 168 BC.

 

The fort at Vrasna was not occupied seasonally, nor was its sole purpose to house a garrison. The considerable number of storage vessels, the abundant pottery of everyday use, for preparing, cooking and serving food, and the existence of an oil-press and facilities for processing grain, point to a more permanent installation and a more complex use pattern. Its strategic site, size, monumental construction, and the presence of stamps on its tiles, indicating its official character, preclude its identification with an ordinary country house.

 

The remarkably large number of lead weights in proportion to the small size that has been excavated perhaps attests to other activities that may have been carried out in it. It was always provided with a sufficiency of goods for times of danger, and it appears, therefore, that it was not only a defensive bastion in time of war, but in times of peace served as a station for the production and marketing of the goods of the region.