Largest Ancient Prehistoric Settlement of Cyclades

Skarkos is an early Bronze Age settlement on the island of Ios in Greece. Owing to its well preserved state, Skarkos is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the Aegean and especially the Cyclades. Skarkos was systematically excavated during the years 1984-1997. The excavations have been carried out in the north and east sides of the hill. They have brought to light an important early Cycladic settlement (mid-3rd millennium BC) in an exceptionally good state of preservation (two-storey buildings, four-metre-high walls), and an overlying late middle/early late Bronze Age cemetery (mid-2nd millennium BC).

The settlement covers an area of 1.1 hectares and is the largest and best preserved site of the Keros-Syros culture, estimated to have been home to between 200 and 300 people Skarkos is built on terraces that follow the natural relief of the hill. Its rectangular, stone-built residential buildings consist of a ground floor, a first floor and an enclosed courtyard. Their varying sizes reveal a social differentiation in the community. Streets between one and two meters wide and public spaces were uncovered. Walls are preserved to a height of three to four meters. The urban planning system of Skarkos is comparable to that of Poliochne on Lemnos from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC.