KARYSTOS
Cipollino in the Karystos area
The ancient Roman quarries in the Karystos area have already been described. This section concerns the cipollino which exists outside the quarries themselves.


The Karystos Museum
The small museum in Karystos town shares with the theatre and library a building which is owned by the Yokaleion Foundation. It has an interesting collection of exhibits which are now well shown and documented. The small leaflet given to visitors with their ticket reminds us that ‘the earliest inhabitation in the region of Karystia is dated to the final phase of the Neolithic period (end of the 4th millennium BC). The archaeological evidence suggests that the area was inhabited throughout the entire Bronze Age (2600-1100 BC).


‘The earliest mention of the city of Karystos is in the Homeric ‘Catalogue of Ships’, thus confirming the legend that the Karystians, under their King Nauplios, took part in the Trojan War.

 

‘In historical times, three important centres developed in the region of Karystia: the area of Styra, Geraistos and Karystos, the largest trading post and settlement in south Euboea.’19 It was occupied by the Romans in 198 BC.
Inside the museum there is a piece of local cipollino, forming the base for the statue of Plotius Leonides. It measures 1.23 m. /4 Rf in height and the base is .59 m. /2 Rf square. On the base is an inscription honouring Plotius Leonides. It is dated at the end of the first century AD (
Plate 3.26 & 3.27).


Outside there are several columns of cipollino which are said to have been found in the sea when the harbour was dredged for shipping in the 1890s. Facing the Bourtzi, the Venetian tower beside the sea, close to the entrance of the museum, are two columns. The one nearest to the Bourtzi measures 6.05 m. long /20.4 Rf and has a diameter of .72 m. /2.43 Rf. It has a collar at both ends. It has one narrow break (Plate 3.28). Lazzarini describes it as a large column (20 Roman feet) with an inscription Claud (iani), from a Styra quarry, found on the beach at Animborio.20 The second one, further from the Bourtzi, measures 6 m. /20 Rf (with two breaks of .04-.05 m.) and a diameter of .72 m. /2.43 Rf (Plate 3.29). There are two further smaller columns lying at the edge of the Museum garden, one with a length of 1.70 m. /5.7 Rf) and a diameter of .37 m. /1.25 Rf, and with a collar of a depth of .09 m (Plate 3.30). The other has a length of 4.27 m. /14.42 Rf and diameter of .53 m. /1.8 Rf at one end and .50 m. /1.7 Rf at the other. It also has a collar (Plate 3.31).


There are also two sarcophagi in the grounds of the museum, both of cipollino. The smaller one measures .75 m. /2.5 Rf wide, 1.99 m. /6.72 Rf long and .62 m. /2 Rf high (Plate 3.32). The larger one measures .99 m. /3.34 Rf wide, 2.58 m. /8.7 Rf long and .73 m. /2.46 Rf high (Plate 3.33).
Also in the museum is a stele commemorating Hadrian as the builder of Karystos.


Modern use of cipollino in the Karystos area
There is no evidence of any modern cipollino quarries in the Karystos area. It is quarried largely in the Styra area and there it is possible to procure a newly cut piece of cipollino. However there is modern cipollino on the base of the military monument to those who were killed between 1941 and 1944 which is situated on the corner of Odos Kriezotou and Amalia square. The outer base cladding is 1.42 m. x .42 m. and the inner pieces are 1.42 m. x .21 m. (Plate 3.34)

The Harbour Wall
There is further evidence (besides that used in the flooring and entrances of buildings in the town) of the modern use of cipollino in Karystos, this time for a very practical purpose. On the harbour wall, towards the entrance of the harbour itself, there are many very large blocks of stone which have been used for the reinforcement of the outer side of the wall and which are actually large blocks of cipollino marble. There are probably 20-30 pieces, blocks of different sizes lying in the sea next to the wall, clearly showing their distinctive cipollino markings as the sea washes against them. Some measure as much as 2 m. long, 1 m. wide and .60 m. deep. Others slightly smaller measure 1 m. long, .50 to .60 m. wide and .60 m. deep (Plates 3.35 & 3.36). The reinforcement of the harbour wall is said to have taken place in the 1960s and these large pieces presumably were put in place there at that time, perhaps before the value of the local marble had been realised.

Paiania
In June 2013 one further interesting example of the modern use of Karystian cipollino in Greece emerged. It is in the Vorres Museum of Modern Greek Art in Paiania, Attica, and is by the Greek artist, Costas Dikefalos. It is included as an example of a modern 20th century sculpture in Karystian cipollino.

19 Leaflet provided by the Museum of Karystos, Ministry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund.
20 Lazzarini, L., Poikiloi Lithoi, versiculores maculae: I marmi colorati della Grecia antica. Storia, uso, diffusione, cave, geologia, caratterizzazione scientifica, archeometria, deterioramento, Roma, 2007, Capitulo Dodicesimo , Marmor Carystium o Styrium (Cipollino Verde) p..202, Fig. 30.

Maps and Plates

Plate 3.26.jpg

Plate 3.26 Cipollino base for the statue of Plotius Leonides, the Archaeological Museum, Karystos.

Plate 3.27.jpg

Plate 3.27 Detail of the base for the statue of Plotius Leonides, the Archaeological Museum, Karystos.

Plate 3.28.jpg

Plate 3.28 Cipollino column (1) in the garden of the Archaeological Museum, nearest to the Bourtzi, Karystos.

Plate 3.29.jpg

Plate 3.29 Cipollino column (2) in the garden of the Archaeological Museum, furthest from the Bourtzi, Karystos.

Plate 3.30.jpg

Plate 3.30 Smaller, incomplete cipollino column, lying at the edge of the garden of the Archaeological Museum, Karystos.

Plate 3.31.jpg

Plate 3.31 Second smaller incomplete column at the edge of the garden of the Archaeological Museum, Karystos.

Plate 3.32.jpg

Plate 3.32 Cipollino sarcophagus (1) in the Archaeological Museum garden, Karystos.

Plate 3.33.jpg

Plate 3.33 Cipollino sarcophagus (2) in the Archaeological Museum garden, Karystos.

Plate 3.34.jpg

Plate 3.34 Cipollino clad town war memorial to those who died between 1940 and 1944, Karystos.

Plate 3.35.jpg

Plates 3.35 & 3.36 Cipollino supporting blocks for the harbour wall, Karystos.

Plate 3.36.jpg

Plates 3.35 & 3.36 Cipollino supporting blocks for the harbour wall, Karystos.