The Stageira acropolis is a large fortified enclosure inside the long south wall of the city. It has an elongated triangular plan: the base faces northwest, and the eastern inner wall forms the narrow apex with the long southern wall at the circular tower. The inner walls have an irregular stone construction quite different from the outer wall. Along the inside of the walls are regularly spaced buttresses, the 3 metre long spaces between which are thought to have been roofed. In some large storage jars have been found.
The foundations of other buildings have been unearthed, including one near the outer entrance of the acropolis (see previous page), consisting of two rooms. The largest room, standing at the highest point of the city, is 5 metres square and is thought to have been as a guard room. Close to it a well has also been discovered (see next page).
If you were expecting something like the Acropolis of Athens, Corinth or Lindos, you may be a bit disappointed. There are no gleaming marble temples or colossal statues.
The Greek word acropolis (ακρόπολις) means high city or citadel, and since many ancient cities were built on hills for defensive purposes, the word has been applied to the highest area of several places. What the ancient Stageirites themselves called this part of their city is unknown.
Typically, the original settlement or local ruler's fortress grew into a city. Over time, the summit became a sacred area, a seat of government (e.g. a royal palace) and/or a military barracks. At Pergamon, for example, the acropolis served all three functions in Hellenistic times, as well as housing a treasury. In democratic Athens, the reverence for a king was tranferred symbolically into the worship of mythical ancestor-kings (Cecrops, Erechtheus, Theseus) identified with Athena and other deities, and the palaces were replaced by houses of the gods - temples.
However, in the case of Stageira, it seems that the original 7th century BC colonial settlement occupied only the North Hill of the peninsula, and the city first expanded to the South Hill at the beginning the 5th century BC. Whether the area of its acropolis was used before this time, perhaps as a fortress, is as yet unknown.