Akanthos (Ancient Greek: Ἄκανθος), later Ierissos (Greek: Ιερισσός), was an ancient Greek city on the Athos peninsula. It was located on the north-east side of Akti, on the most eastern peninsula of Chalcidice. It was founded by 7th century BC (the archaeology suggests 655 BC) by colonists from Andros, according to Thucydides. Strabo and Ptolemy erroneously place Acanthus on the Singitic Gulf, but there can be no doubt that the town was on the Strymonian Gulf, as is stated by Herodotus and other authorities: the error may have perhaps arisen from the territory of Acanthus having stretched as far as the Singitic Gulf. The name of the ancient city (derived from the acanthus bush) is due to the thorny nature* of the area or to the thorny nature of the town’s foundation.

* Acanthus (plural: acanthus, rarely acanthuses in English, or acanthi in Latin), in its feminine form acantha (plura: acanthae), is the Latinised form of the ancient Greek word acanthos or akanthos, referring to the Acanthus plant. It can also be used as the prefix acantho-, meaning “thorny”. About the Necropolis || Edit

Akanthos (Ancient Greek: Ἄκανθος; Latin: Acanthus), later Ierissos (Greek: Ιερισσός), was an ancient Greek city on the Athos peninsula. 

The city itself has not been excavated, but the necropolis (graveyard) has, starting in 1973, since when more than 600 graves have been discovered. Particularly extensive is the sight of the cemetery along the seaside of Ierissos. The graveyard seems to have been used for a long period, starting from the Archaic period (or perhaps even the 17th century BCE) right up to Roman times and later, perhaps with certain intervals in between each period of time. The graves occur in at least two or three layers, either shallow in the earth, or deeper in the sand, usually parallel with the line of the seashore. The orientation of the dead (that is, skulls of the dead - and the tops of jugs) is, in most cases, southeast.

In Acanthus both adults and children were buried in the same area according to ancient burial customs. Various grave types have been discovered - some are simple dirt holes, others coated with clay or undecorated or painted clay urns, yet others are shaped like boxes, covered in clay or jug-shaped (jug-shaped most probably constituted the majority of infant or child burials). The grave goods, usually placed in the graves next to or above the dead, are varied and sometimes in earthen containers. Often they were personal or related to their occupation (such as jewels, pins, buckles, mirrors, weapons - though these are rare -, needles, hooks, bill-hooks, knives or - very often in female and child graves - clay figurines representing various animals, foodstuffs, or human forms, such as actors). Some of the goods are locally made whilst some are from other commercial centres and workshops of the ancient world. Burial customs, and similar types of graves which have been discovered, resemble many other cemeteries in other ancient cities of Macedonia and Thrace, revealing the connection through trade to so much of the Greek-speaking East as well as to other well-known centres of the Peloponnessus (especially Euboea, Athens, Corinth and Boeotia). x