Melos is the westernmost of the Cyclades. Featuring a large protected bay and rich volcanic soil, it was densely populated at all times. Already in the Neolithic, Melos was one of the main sources for obsidian. This essential raw material was exported throughout the Aegean from Crete to Macedonia. During the third millennium chamber tombs carved into the rock, especially in the area of Adamas, attest an important Early Cycladic community.
Phylakopi, in the northern coast of the island, flourished throughout the Bronze Age. Archaeological research has brought to light four uninterrupted phases until ca. 1100 BC. Phylakopi was at first under Minoan influence; the site experienced an important development during the Mycenaean era. From this period dates the construction of a fortification wall and the remains of a "megaron" and sanctuary. In the latter the well known terracotta figurine of the "Lady of Phylakopi" was found.
The Geometric and Archaic periods are represented on the island in a necropolis at Trypiti. Among the finds Protogeometric vases are significant. Moreover, the large number of Parian vases found there gave the name of "Melian" to this Archaic ceramic production. From the cemetery came also a well preserved kouros of Naxian provenance.
The cemetery of Trypiti was still in use during the Classical period. At that time, the heart of the city should be at a place called Treis Ekklisies where English excavations probably partly uncovered the Agora. It seems that the island flourished also during the Hellenistic period. The famous Aphrodite of Melos probably came from the gymnasium of the city. Another public construction found is the theatre, dated to the 2nd century BC.
At Klima, by the shore, a monumental statue of Poseidon has taken as an indication for the presence of a cult of the god here. At Tramythia, North of the ancient city, a mosaic floor and altar bearing an inscription to Dionysos Trieterikos were found.
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