Olynthus (Ancient Greek: Ὄλυνθος Olinthos, named for the olunthos, the fruit of the wild fig tree) was an ancient city of Chalcidice, built mostly on two flat-topped hills 30-40m in height, in a fertile plain at the head of the Gulf of Torone, near the neck of the peninsula of Pallene, about 2.5 kilometers from the sea, and about 60 stadia (c. 9-10 kilometers) from Poteidaea. Artefacts found during the excavations of the site are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Olynthos.
Topography and Archaeology:
The city of Olynthus lies in the hill named Megale Toumba near the village of Myriophyto. The probable site of Olynthus was identified as early as 1902. Between 1914 and 1916 plans were made for an excavation by the British School at Athens, but these fell through.
The ancient city extends over two hills that detach from a small coulee and possess an area ca. 1500 m long and 400 m in width. Excavations began in 1928. Prof. David Moore Robinson of Johns Hopkins University, under the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, conducted four seasons of work: in 1928, 1931, 1934, and 1939. The results of the excavations were digested into fourteen folio volumes. The excavation had uncovered more than five hectares of Olynthus and a portion of Mecyberna (the harbor of Olynthus). On the North Hill this hurried pace proved relatively harmless due to the simple stratigraphy of an area of the city occupied only for 84 years and subjected to a sudden, final destruction; but the data from the South Hill was badly muddled. Nonetheless the work was excellent for its time, and remains supremely valuable. Much of the stratigraphy of the North Hill has been reconstructed by Nicholas Cahill (University of Wisconsin). The site is now in the charge of Dr. Julia Vokotopoulou, and the XVI Ephorate of Classical Antiquities.
The Neolithic settlement is located in the edge of the southern hill and was dated in the 3rd millennium BC. The houses were built by stone blocks and had one or two rooms. The pottery that was found was the typical of that period comprising monochrome ceramic vases. The end of this rural settlement was abrupt and is placed around the 1st millennium.
The modern city, formerly Myriophyto, now called Olynthos or Nea Olynthos, sits on a small plateau on the western side of the river Olynthios or Resetenikia (in ancient times known as Sandanus), across from the ruins of the ancient city.