Syros is a middle sized island in the centre of the Cyclades. It is mountainous with rocky coasts in the north and deep bays and fertile plains in the south.
Archaeological surveys have indicated the presence of human presence from the Late and Final Neolithic period at Chondra and Talanta.
Syros flourished in the Early Bronze Age, particularly in the EC II period. The best known settlements (with their cemeteries) are Chalandriani and Kastri in the NE part of the island. The former was quite extensive; the latter had an impressive defencive wall and its inhabitants seem to have been skilled metalworkers. Sporadic finds attest continuity of life during the Early Cycladic III as well as the Middle and Late Bronze Ages.
In historical times the main city on the island was located at the very same place than the modern capital Hermoupolis; the continuous occupation at the site has destroyed almost all traces of the ancient town. Segments of the fortification wall are visible, as well as seats belonging to the theatre; the location of the agora and the prytaneion remain hypothetical. The necropolis extended over the southwest foot of Katailymata hill.
Other ancient settlements was also located at the southern bays of Phoinikas and Galissas. In the latter site a settlement with a double acropolis and a harbour have been partly excavated. Judging by the finds the occupation dates from the (Middle) Geometric period to the 4th century BC. The excavations here, conducted by M. Marthari in the mid 90s. From an Early Archaic graffito, found earlier (in 1979) it seems that there may have been a sanctuary here dedicated either to Poseidon or, more likely, to Demeter (M.-B. Savo, op. cit., 406-407, 416-417, 480).
Bossert, E. M. 1967. Kastri auf Syros. Vorbericht über eine Untersuchung der prähistorischen Siedlung, AD, 22,1.1967: 53-76.
Frangkidis, A. 19752. Ιστορία της νήσου Σύρου, Athens.
Hekman, J. J. 1994. Chalandriani on Syros. A early bronze age cemetery in the Cyclades, AEph, 133.1994: 47-74.
Knittlmayer, B. 2001. Wiedervereinigte Funde von der Kykladeninsel Syros. Grabbeigaben der frühen Bronzezeit in der Berliner Antikensammlung, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, 43: 37-52.
Mantzoulinou-Richards, E. 1988. A stele for a priestess of Isis on the island of Syros, The Ancient World, 17: 35-39.
Mantzoulinou-Richards, E. 1994. From Syros, 3. Forged Kabeirian ex-votos, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 101: 136-138.
Marthari, M. 1998. Σύρος, Χαλανδριανή, Καστρί : από την έρευνα και την προστασία στην ανάδειξη του αρχαιολογικού χώρου, Αθήνα.
Marthari, M. 1997. AD Chronika: xxx-xxx.
Oikonomides, A. N. 1988. Three archaic Greek inscriptions from the island of Syros, The Ancient World, 17: 31-34.