"Kerameikos" was named after the community of the potters who worked within the city walls and occupied the area along the banks of river "Eridanos". The "Kerameikos" 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.

The 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.

The 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 ever since.
Today the visitor walks on the same level as that of Athenians and Classical times.

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Museum Museum Sacred Way Eridanos River Sacred Gate Pompeion Dipylon Street of Tombs Dromos Sacred Way Pompeion Street of Tombs Sacred Gate Eridanos River Dromos Dipylon Ermou Street Ermou Street