EARLY IRON AGE ELITE BURIALS IN EAST
Until recently the history of East Lokris was not well known. The ancient history of the region was based either on the ancient sources or on the visible ancient remains which were of uncertain date and significance. During the last twentyfive years, however, the activities of the 14th Ephorate of Antiquities – consisting mostly of rescue excavations conducted under the direction of the author – have brought to light much new evidence for the history of the region. It is noticeable that some of the most remarkable discoveries made in the area belong to the LBA and the EIA.
East Lokris is the coastal area of central Greece extending from Thermopylae to Halae, sharing boundaries to the south-east with Boeotia, to the west with Phokis and to the north with the Spercheios Valley where the Malians were located (Strabo 9. 406–7; 9. 425–6; Dakoronia 1996: 1167–73). East Lokris also lies opposite Euboea and according to Homer was the homeland of the two famous heroes, Patroclus and Aias the Lesser (Iliad 2. 527–35). Although Homer refers to the eight cities which took part in the expedition against Troy, it appears that he ignores the West Lokrians.
East Lokrians were known in the ancient literary sources as Opountians, named after the capital of the Lokrians. They are also known as Epiknemidians or Hypoknemidians, adjectives defining the inhabitants of the area of the lowlands and hills around Knemis, a mountainous chain extending along the west and southwest border of East Lokris.
The main plain of East Lokris is the Opountian, which is now known as the plain of Atalante and where the majority of the rescue excavations took place. This plain is densely populated, and thus a number of public works, constructions of buildings, and agricultural activities are carried out in the area.
East Lokris lies on the main road from the north to the south of Greece and at a strategic position for communication both by land and by sea. This location dictated, and still does, the fate of the inhabitants of the area. Friends and allies, enemies and conquerors have passed through East Lokris throughout its history and with them various fashions and ideas. So the cultural products as well as the way of life of the Lokrians display characteristics of other cultural areas of