was named after the community of the potters who worked within the
city walls and occupied the area along the banks of river "Eridanos".
archaeological site is better known nowadays as the most important
cemetery of ancient Athens. The earliest tombs found here date to
the Bronze Age, the Submycenaean period (1100-1000 BC), the Geometric
period (1000-700BC), and Archaic period (700-480 BC), when graves
were marked with funerary monuments.
Themistoclean fortifications, erected in 478 BC, encircled the entire
city,dividing it in an outer and an inner zone. Inner "Kerameikos",
within the city walls, was used for urban development, while the
area outside the walls was used for burials. The two most important
gates of Athens stood here. The "Dipylon", through which
passed the road, or "Dromos", to Plato's Academy, and
the "Sacred Gate" with the road to Elusis. The "Sacred
Gate" is associated with the festivities of the Eleusinian
Mysteries. At "Dipylon" the procession of Panathenaian
festival assembled, before ascending to the "Akropolis".
During the Classical period
(5- 4th century BC), the "Street of Tombs" and "Dromos"
were surrounded by funerary monuments. Outside "Dipylon",
by the road to Plato's Academy, was established the "Demosion
Sema", the public cemetery for the prominent Athenians and
for those who fell in the war. From the Hellenistic period to Early
Christian times (338 BC to 6th century AD), "Kerameikos"
cemetery continued to function in the same place.
archaeological site, an area of 40 000m2 in extent, was covered
by an alluvial fill of 8-9m deep, which reached the level of today's
"Ermou Street". Excavations began in 1863 and have continued
Today the visitor walks on the same level as that of Athenians and