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Rafina-Pikermi (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2019-07-06 by ivan sache
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Flag of Rafina-Pikermi - Image by Tomislav Šipek, 7 May 2019

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Presentation of Rafina-Pikermi

The municipality of Rafina-Pikermi (20,266 inhabitants in 2011, 4,184 ha) was established in the 2011 local government reform as the merger of the former municipalities of Pikermi (2,931 inh.) and Rafina (13,091 inh.).

Olivier Touzeau, 20 December 2014

Flag of Rafina-Pikermi

The flag of Rafina-Pikermi (photo) is white with the municipality emblem.
The left part of the emblem represents Pikermi with the silhouette of a fossil horse (?) and the St. Christopher church.
The right part of the emblem represents Rafina, with the emblematic St. Nicholas chapel and the port.
Oddly enough, the emblem "reads" Pikermi-Rafina instead of Rafina-Pikermi.

Pikermi is home of a most famous paleontological site.
It was in 1835, a few years after the founding of the Greek state, when a Bavarian soldier of King Otto's army walks along the banks of the Great Stream of ​​Pikermi, known today as Valanaris. While searching for something that he could take back to his homeland, he finds a white hollow object with small and large crystals sparkling from the inside. He takes the object in hope to have obtained not just a souvenir but also the option to become rich.
"It's not diamonds," famous professor for paleontology, Johann Andreas Wagner, tells the soldier in Munich after after he had returned home. However, the sparkling crystals were valuable from a different point of view: they were formed inside cavities of animals extincted thousand of years ago.

The finding marked the beginning of one of the greatest paleontologist discoveries in the world.

Located 19 km east of Athens, the paleontological site of Pikermi features more than forty mammal species from the late Miocene (8 million years ago) and fossils of animals that do not exist in Greece anymore. Only in Africa. What followed the discovery were excavations and discoveries but also plundering.
New species are identified and the name of Pikermi is depicted in scientific texts throughout the world, while international researches describe it as the "Acropolis of Palaeontology".

"The location is particularly rich in fossils. We have more than 50 different species of animals that would remind us of an African landscape and even richer because we have animal species that are not present in Africa today," Georgios Theodorou, professor at Paleontology, Geology and Geoenvironment Department of Athens University told news agency AMNA that visited the site.
Noting that the most recent research began at PV1-Pikermi Valley 1 in 2009, Theodorou noted that this year’s excavation began on April 24th and is expected to end at the end of June.
"Among these animals are animals with trunk, giraffes, rhinoceroses, horses, hyenas, felidae, giant turtles (found earlier), small turtles, birds, ostriches and monkeys such as the Mesopithecus of Penteli, a very rare fossil, we were lucky to find three samples this year," Theodorou said.
Recalling that the area of today's Aegean Sea was once dry, he said that "from Greece to Asia Minor [Turkey] there was a continent with a rich fauna including more than 50 species of animals that lived in Aigiida [the continent] almost 57 million years after the disappearance of the Dinosaurs."
That is 7,200,000 years ago, as recent studies have shown, Theodorou said adding they will try also to study the area of Agioi Anargyroi, at the Queen's Tower {Pyrgos Vassilissis] in West Attica, where one fossil of the Grecopithecus was found long ago. The Grecopithecus finding was 25,000 years away from the Pikermi findings.
Excavation and research cannot proceed with the desired pace due to lack of funding. Only 7,000 euros gross are being made available pro year.
[Keep Talking Greece, 10 June 2018]

Signaled in 1839 by Andreas Wagner, the Pikermi site was first excavated in 1855 by the French paleontologist Albert Gaudry (1827-1908), commissioned by the French Academy of Sciences; a second campaign made in 1860 allowed Gaudry to complete his collections and to initiate the publication of Animaux fossiles et géologie de l'Attique (1862-1867; summarized in 1866 in Résumé des recherches sur les animaux fossiles de Pikermi. Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 2, 509-516).
Gaudry was elected President of the French Society of Geology in 1863. Appointed in 1872 Professor of Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History, he was elected in 1882 at the Academy of Sciences and appointed by his peers President of the 8th International Congress of Geology, held in Paris in 1900.
[J. Gaudant. 2008. Albert Gaudry (1827-1908), paléontologue darwinien ? Travaux du Comité français d'histoire de la géologie, 3e série, 22, 105-111; A. Gaudry. 1866. Considérations générales sur les animaux fossiles de Pikermi. Savy, Paris; A. Thévenin. 1908. Albert Gaudry (1827-1908). , 1854].

The Albert Gaudry collection (list), kept in the National Museum of Natural History, includes several types of fossils excavated in Pikermi:
- Mastodon pentelici Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Hyaena chaeritis Gaudry, 1861
- Palaeoryx parvidens Gaudry, 1861
- Camelopardalis duvernoyi Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Palaeotragus rouenii Gaudry, 1861
- Tragocerus valenciennesi Gaudry, 1865
- Hyaenictis graeca Gaudry, 1861
- Promephitis lartetii Gaudry, 1862
- Viverra orbigny Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Mustela pentelici Gaudry, 1861
- Leptodon graecus Gaudry, 1862
- Macrotherium pentelicum Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Testudo marmorum Gaudry, 1862
- Helladotherium duvernoyi Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Bohlinia attica Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Chaerolophodon pentelici Gaudry & Lartet, 1856
- Pliocervus pentelici Gaudry, 1866.

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 29 May 2019

Former municipality of Rafina


Flag of Rafina - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 20 December 2014

During the ancient times, Rafina was one of the 100 demes of Athens which was defined by Kleisthenes. The municipality was called Arafin, by the name of its first ruler, Arafinas, who was one of the 100 heroes of Attica.
After the defeat of the Greek army in the Minor Asia (1922), many refugees arrived in Greece. Some of them arrived by ships owned by Filippos Kabounides, a shipowner from Triglia (Tirilye); a year later (29 August 1923), Kabounides' ships brought to Rafina refugees who had lived in Tenedos for one year. Six years later (1929), Rafina became a community. During the 1950s Pantovasilissa's church was built in remembrance of the Byzantine church in Triglia which hold the same name.
Rafina became a municipality in 1994. Rafina is the second busiest port of Athens after Piraeus, mostly serving Euboea and the northern Cyclades (Andros, Tinos and Mykonos).

The flag of Rafina (photo; Kokkonis website) was yellow with a wide blue border and the municipal emblem in the center. The emblem features Agios Nikolaos chapel in Rafina port.

Olivier Touzeau, 20 December 2014