Sifnos Ancient Beacon Tower and Citadel Communication Network Revival

The Sifnian Municipal Corporation for Tourism Development, in cooperation with the Cultural Association of Sifnos and the Municipality of Sifnos, have been reviving for the past few years (every year, on the Eve of the Holy Spirit, fifty days after Easter Sunday) the communication network of ancient beacon towers and citadels of Sifnos (dating from the 6th to the 3rd century BCE). With the noble participation of dozens of volunteers, communication between these points is achieved via smoke and mirrors, almost 2,500 years after the first use of these beacon towers. These towers were built on strategic spots all over the island, and they constituted a network that used a system for exchanging messages via smoke or fire, having the capability to receive and transmit signals to each other and to each of the island’s four ancient citadels. The archaeological research is ongoing, and has so far recorded 76 ancient beacon towers, which are unique as far as their construction is concerned, as well as their superior numbers compared to the other islands of the Aegean. Even compared to the size of the island, which is only 74 square kilometres, the ratio is impressive (almost one tower per square kilometre), a fact that is explained by the riches of the  island, due to the deposits of gold, lead, and silver, and owing to the fear of possible seaborne enemy raids. (According to the writings of Herodotus, Sifnos was the richest island of all). The ever-increasing participation of volunteers and the addition of more spots each year are indicative of the dynamism of this project that showcases the island’s archaeological  wealth.

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