Lissos: Rediscovering the Lost Splendor of an Ancient Theater
An excavation expedition, led by archaeologist Katerina Janakakis from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Chania, has uncovered the remains of an ancient roofed theatre known as an "odeon" in the historic city of Lissos, situated on the southwest coast of Crete.
The excavation team has successfully unearthed 14 tiers of seating, two arched chambers on the sides, and a section of the stage, all skillfully crafted from local limestone.
This odeon was constructed during the first century A.D., a prosperous period when Lissos thrived as a Roman city. Traces of severe damage suggest that the settlement suffered extensive destruction, possibly due to a catastrophic earthquake in A.D. 365, which also caused widespread devastation in other cities across the eastern Mediterranean region.
While odeons traditionally hosted musical performances and poetry contests, Janakakis postulates that this specific structure may have additionally served as a central meeting place for local governing authorities. "Considering Lissos' modest size and provincial status," she explains, "it seems plausible that the odeon had a dual purpose, as indicated by its design and strategic placement at the heart of the city."