Spyridon Marinatos

Eminent Greek archaeologist believed Paliki was Ithaca

“He told us that this land
– Paliki – was once ancient Ithaca, and
that with our excavations we were
looking for clues.”

Antonis Rigatos, remembering the eminent Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos

Spyridon Marinatos

Spyridon Marinatos was perhaps the greatest Greek archaeologist of the 20th century. He discovered and excavated the spectacular and important site of the port city of Akrotiri on Santorini and is famous too for his work on Crete.

Ship procession wall painting from Akrotiri
Ship procession wall painting from Akrotiri

He also excavated at various Bronze Age sites on Paliki, the western peninsula of Kefalonia.

And, like us, he believed Paliki was once ancient Ithaca.

Cover of ARGO magazine, summer 2023

‘ARGO’ magazine

This is revealed by our Project Coordinator, John Crawshaw, in an article in the summer 2023 edition of ‘ARGO’, the magazine of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, usually known simply as the Hellenic Society.

Antonis Rigatos

Antonis Rigatos was a local labourer who assisted Marinatos with the excavations on Paliki. Aged 92, he talked about the archaeologist, who became his friend, in an intriguing interview with John Crawshaw, in a cafe in Lixouri.

And he never forgot his friend’s words, that Paliki was ancient Ithaca.


Spyridon Marinatos died in 1974 in an accident at the excavations at Akrotiri.

Bronze Age tomb on Paliki
Bronze Age tomb on Paliki

Antonis recalled many details of Marinatos’ Bronze Age excavations on Paliki and the interview is a fascinating insight into a little-known aspect of the great archaeologist’s life.

And 50 years on from Spyridon Marinatos’ death, we take encouragement and inspiration from his conviction, as we too try to find the evidence to show that Paliki was Ithaca.

Read the article

Main image: Spyridon Marinatos and the excavations at Akrotiri, Santorini