Friday, June 14 2024

The megalithic mystery of the Greek Dragon Houses

Mt. Olympus, the Peloponnesian War, Pericles, Athens, and, of course, the Parthenon. When one considers ancient Greece, these are only a few of the topics that usually spring to mind. The heroic age of gods and men, the historical wars between Greek city-states, powerful strategoi and their prominent cities and, of course, architectural feats beyond compare. What does not spring to mind, however, are the mysterious megalithic structures the Greeks call drakospita, or “dragon houses”.


Megalithic Architecture of the Dragon Houses

Likely dating to the Preclassical period of ancient Greece, the dragon houses of Euboea are among the mysteries of the past which have yet to be fully understood. They first gained international attention when British geologist John Hawkins took note of the strange structures while ascending Mount Ochi (also written as Oche) on October 21, 1797. Although many archaeologists have been drawn to the dragon houses over the years, they have yet to explain them.

Resembling the stepped pyramid of Djoser in Pre-Dynastic Egypt and the temple complexes of Pre-Columbian Teotihuacan, these megalithic houses are structures built without mortar. Small, thin, mostly flat stones make up the buildings, stacked atop one another, kept in place with the use of jambs and lintels. Large megaliths are used in various places throughout the dragon houses, usually toward the roofs, positioned in a fashion that is similar to what is seen at Stonehenge.