The city of Argilos predates the Hellenistic period and reaches back to a time before Alexander the Great, and even his father, Phillip II of Macedon. This region of the Mediterranean had then been inhabited by the Thracians, tribes of central and southeastern Europe about whom little is known. The Greeks established Argilos in the middle of the 7th century B.C.
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The region was a frontier where people headed to strike it rich in the valley of Strymon River, where gold and silver overflowed in mines. An "El Dorado," Perreault calls it. Argilos was the nearest port and transportation hub and it grew to be prosperous.
The portico was built 2,700 years ago, Perreault said. It contains seven rooms of uniform size - 5 meters wide, 7.5 meters deep and 2.5 meters high. The rooms are not identical. They were built using different stones and techniques, which suggests that the shop owners had each hired separate masons for the task.
Argilos flourished till 437 BC, when the nearby city of Amphipolis began thriving. Amphipolis was located closer to the Strymon River and began controlling much of the trade. Over the next century, the Thracians, the Spartans, the Athenians and the Macedonians jostled for control of the city.