Torone

The ancient city of Torone, situated near southern end of the Sithonia peninsula of the Chalkidike, was one of the richest and most important cities in the region during the Classical period. One of the highest tribute-paying members of the Delian League, it is best known from Thucydides' detailed accounts of the campaign of the Spartan King Brasidas to take control of the city in 424 BC, and the Athenian General Cleon's reprisals in 423 BC (Thucydides IV, 110-116; V, 2-3).

The Australian excavations at Torone began in 1975, directed by Professor Alexander Cambitoglou then Head of Department of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney. The fieldwork at Torone was initially conducted under the auspices of the Archaeological Society at Athens and from 1986 as a collaborative project between that Society and the AAIA. Excavations were conducted at the site until 1990, followed by underwater and topographic and geophysical survey of the coastal environs since 1993.

The Australian excavations at Torone have shown that the site was occupied from the Final Neolithic period to the destruction of the Ottoman Kastro by Francesco Morisini in 1659.

Just as is clear from its role as a highly disputed territory during the Peloponnesian war, the key to the longevity and success of the settlement lies in its strategic position as a protected harbour on trade routes from the southern Aegean to the Black Sea and the Asia Minor coast. The inhabitants at Torone were perfectly placed to provide shelter and reprovisioning for ships engaged in long distance trade. Throughout its long history of occupation, the range of imported goods recovered indicate that Torone played a significant role as a trading way station to a lesser or greater extent throughout its 5000 year history.

As such, study of the material from Torone provides a unique view of the ebbs and flows of local and long distance economic and cultural interactions in the Northern Aegean.

Recent coring and geophysical examinations directed by Associate Professor Thomas Hillard (Macquarie University, Sydney) have been undertaken in the floodplain immediately northeast of the ancient city. Preliminary results strongly suggest that this area was once a deep embayment that may well have served as a, if not the, major anchorage of Torone in antiquity.

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