The port city of Elaiussa- particularly the original nucleus of the settlement on the promontory – was defended by walls since the Hellenistic period (IInd –Ist century B.C.) whi
ch were subsequently included within the more ample circuits of fortifications of the roman-imperial age (IInd century A.D.) and of the Byzantine period (Vth century A.D.).
The three successive wall circuits, quite different in their extension, their monumental development, construction techniques and functions, were all located within the settlement’s most strategically important sector, that is the corner of the promontory facing the mainland, thus having the double function of a defensive structure and of a physical and symbolic limit between the settlement and the surrounding territory.
The Hellinistic walls consisted in a single segment of a polygonal wall, built across the isthmus which was probably related to an inner wall of fortifications raised behind it in a withdrawn position.
In the roman-imperial age, during the area’s urban restructuring a more ample wall circuit was built, that extended along a perimeter of more than 70 m and was made of a wall in opus quadrata with bastions and entered by a door flanked by towers on each side.
The roman age walls, which in the meantime had been subject to consistent reconstruction, were subsequently included during the Byzantine period within the belt of walls that protected the palace which had been built right in the rear.
Having lost their function due to the decline and final abandon of the city during the VIIth century, the walls were brought to light during the excavation campaigns from 2003 to 2012 and are today one of the most monumental aspects of ancient Elaiussa Sebaste, very visible to anyone driving down present day’s coastal road.