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Rimokastro

On the plateau of Mt. Aipos, above the settlement of Vrontados, remains of farming and stock raising facilities dating back to the Classic period (5th – 1st century BC) have been preserved. It is remarkable that in some cases the ancient foundations of the retaining walls and fences have been preserved in situ and are used for the same purpose throughout the centuries. The visitor can see the entire archaeological site from two points, Rimokastro and Astyfidolakko, where two spectator stands have been constructed and information boards have been placed. Those who love hiking can walk from one point to the other, along a specially marked path. The total distance is 4.5km. The farming and stock raising facilities on Mt. Aipos were organised along the “Ellininostrata” route, the ancient trail with strategic meaning, which connected the Eastern coastal section with the northern and western coastal sections and was in use up until the middle of the last century. Cultivation and farming is verified from ancient up until more recent times. Remnants of farming and stock raising facilities have been excavated in the areas of Rimokastro, Kambouri Gyrisma, Evriaki; although there are archaeological indications of similar facilities in other areas of the broader levelled region. The large stone piles known as “Soroi tis Grias” are mainly located in the area of Astyfidolakkos and are the result of laborious and ever-lasting efforts to claim the land over the centuries for the purpose of cultivating land, which today appears completely arid. The cultivated areas were protected by large stonewalls known as "gyrismata" (turnings) in order to deter the grazing animals from entering. Large water tanks that collected rainwater covered the needs of both humans and animals consumption. The most significant building complex is that of the Rimokastro built above the gorge of the Krikeli torrent, better known as “Agriou”. The main building complex, which was most probably the owner’s residence, has a symmetrical plan and sheltered areas on either side of the central quadrangular yard along the EW axis. It is most probable that the SE apartment was an architecturally designed tower that was common of homesteads in the 4th century BC. Ancillary buildings and a large, well-cared-for tank served the farming and inhabitants’ needs. There is evidence that the area was in use up until the turn of the 5th century to the 4th century BC, thus, up until the Roman periods, whilst there are also findings that the area had not been totally deserted until the Byzantine periods. According to researchers, evidence of the area’s farming and stock raising was linked to a case in Chian history, which borders on fiction. It concerns the revolt of the island’s slaves with Drimakos as their leader; literary testimonies date this between 600 BC to the 4th century BC. The revolting slaves fled to the mountains where they established themselves for a while. The “State” of these slaves created its own rules, whereas Drimakos, their leader, was rewarded for acting in a just manner not only towards his fellow slaves, but also towards his former masters and a monument was erected on his grave declaring him a “Benevolent Hero”. Other researchers point out that the appearance of the homesteads on Mt Aipos do not reflect the temporary characteristics that would be expected from revolutionists’ facilities that are in a continuous “warring” state and usually under persecution. The completion of the excavations in the area is expected to shed light on these speculations.